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Fiery Faith

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_ About a woman who comes to seek help and the Lord calls her a dog.

_ How can we be sure God will not be rude, inconsiderate, without compassion, and unwilling to help?

Q: Should we risk asking?

Q: How does this co-relate with Mt 7:7-11.

- Ask and you shall be rapped on the knuckles

We sometimes treat this story as skeletons in our Christian closet because we have not understood what happened here.

- We even have a false notion of an “Exclusive gospel.”

Story : Give your hand vs. take my hand scenario

- This is not the God we know. So what happened here.

Interestingly (vs. 21 & 26):

- (vs. 21)Probably the only time Jesus leaves the Jewish territory

- (vs. 26) Right after this incident returns to Galilee. Almost as if the Lord went just for this

Matthew 15:22 . the two sides of the coin.

- We read it’s a Canaanite woman

- This is what we may call strike two, the double whammy, or two wickets for zero in cricket

a. Canaanite : foreigner

b. Woman (in context of the culture of those days)

- Mathew is writing to the Jews, they immediately know the implications. Also they would find no fault with Jesus on this.

On the flip side. The Canaanite woman does everything right. (vs. 22)

a. Approached: cried unto Him. No demands.

b. Addressed: Messiah’s title. O Lord thou Son of David

c. Applied: Did not give up, was persistent.

That in itself a sermon and the Lord admired her faith, still what really happened.

: Three possibilities: (the title heads are taken from

1. Jesus was trapped:

- Based on His own confession He had indeed come for the lost sheep of Israel but since He had previously healed the Centurion’s servant and a Samaritan, He was trapped to heal this woman’s daughter.

- “ Jesus “ means He shall save His people from their sins.


- It is true that the gospel was first preached to the Jews and that it would be opened out to, the Gentiles after the Jews rejected it. (Never exclusive probably sequential).

- Jesus could never be trapped. The best minds of the Pharisee have been trying for the past many years. He had a brilliant answer for every well thought-of, foolproof plan laid by the Pharisees. Ex: Paying taxes to Caesar.

- If He were truly trapped, He would extricate Himself without being rude. The one with gracious words had no reason for being rude.

2. Jesus was tired (and therefore rude).

- He was human too. He hungered; thirsted, and was exhausted. So is it possible that He lost his cool.

- Did the compassionate One; Slow to anger; Long suffering one, give in to the weariness of the world.

- Was this the last straw on the camel’s back.


- Firstly, Our Lord is no camel. He would never snap when compassion was needed.

- Is 42:3 – “A bruised reed He shall not break and the smoking flax shall He not quench.”

3. Jesus was Testing

- The most popular explanation. God is God of tests, so that through out testing we come out stronger.

- Examples:

a. Test of Sacrifice: Abraham.. Taught him PRIORITY. Dealing with Isaac.

b. Test of Suffering: Job. Taught him PATIENCE. Dealing with his personal righteousness.

c. Test of Sift: Peter. Taught him PASTORAL care. Dealing with strengthen others. Jesus prays for Peter’s strength and not for him to be kept out of it.

- So was the Lord testing her by calling her a dog?


- Our name is precious to Him that He has engraved it on the palm of His hand. Rom 1:7 – “Beloved of God”.

- Jesus will never call us names.

- He was called names so that we don’t have to be.

- He gave us a name when we did not have any.

So what happened? Trapped Tired Testing.

- Understand this as a moment where both Jesus and the woman seem to enjoy.

4. Jesus was Treasuring the moment

- Jesus was savoring the freshness of her faith.

- No religiosity. No pharisaical wisdom. No Jewish pompousness – Just pure, unadulterated fresh faith.

- Context: (Mk 7: 24) Pharisees found fault with His disciples for eating without washing hands.

(Vs.13) “Making the word of God of none effect” and after an admonishment in vs. 24. He gets up to leave.

In our words, “I need to get some fresh air”.

(vs. 24)“From thence He arose and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon…”

- It is not about a contemptuous God, who has to be coaxed but a willing god who delights in a sincere seeker.

Child like faith delights our heavenly Father.

- Ps 145: 18 – “The Lord is nigh unto them that call upon Him”

- Ps 34:18 – “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite heart.

- Ps 37: 4 – “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart”.

- Aren’t we glad He is both an able God and a willing God.

- God who can span the skies with one hand and measure the width of a mosquito’s wings in the other is delighted at His children’s request.

- Here is a faith that must have brought a sparkle to His eyes and a smile to His face.

Here is the Greek woman, Syrophenician by nation who the Lord came out to meet.

- Here as a woman who was Lord’s FAN. F.A.N.

- F: Faith.

- A: Applied.

- N: Never gave up.

Mark 3:8- We read that people from Tyre and Sidon have seen Jesus cast demons out of people.

- Probably when the woman came to Jesus, she had heard these stories from them.

- She approaches in faith not just that the Lord is able but is also willing.

- The ABILITY and the GOODNESS, the CAN and the WILLINGNESS coming together.

- For our faith runs short of the willingness of God to work in our lives.

- A reluctant God is what we think of our God.

Here was a great faith, a fiery faith, a faith that pleased God and a faith that she was willing to apply without giving up. Here is the demonstration of FAITH that we need to have.

How is our Faith?

Heb 11:6 – “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

- The most common admonition that Jesus had to give His disciples was “ O ye of little faith”.

Mt 8:10 – Looking at the Centurion it is written that the Lord marveled and says, “I haven’t found so great a faith.”

- Marveled: Not surprised but overjoyed.

Mt 9:29 – Lord healing the two blind men says to them, “May it be according to your faith”.

I believe that we will experience God in our lives in our love, in our works only as much as we allow our faith to reveal.

- If “May it be according to our faith” and our faiths have been small then it is true in our lives we may have reduced God to an inferior God. For we neither bring Him joy nor do we see the wonder, the magnificence, the greatness of our God.

Heb 11: Is the chapter of the hall of faith. There are names of people listed who have R.A.R.E. faith

Faith is about people, not anything else and Ch 11 is about these people exhibited the rare fiery faith.

- R: Risk – Faith involves risk. They took the risk by trusting God. (Vs 36)- some had great success, some had to suffer, but they took risk and were never disappointed.

- A: Action – Faith is an action word. (Read all the action words).

‘Say to the mountain’: there is an action of saying.

- R: Reward – Faith that takes risks and takes action for the Lord is rewarded. (vs 6) We please God. (vs 38) “Of whom the world was not worthy”

- E: Encouragers – We can look at these people and take courage that we can also have such fiery faith.

Does our faith encourage others?

1862 Californian gold fever – 300,000 mass cross-country movement of people. When people discovered gold, they discovered California. Will our God fever, encourage others to discover God.

James 1:5 – Talking about understanding the need for a faith that works patience says “If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally…”

Three Types of Faith in our Lives:

- Habb 2:4 – FAITHFUL LIVING. “The just shall live by faith”

- Gal 5:6 – FAITHFUL LOVING. In Jesus Christ what availeth much is faith which worketh by love.

- James 2:17 – FAITHFUL LABORING. Faith without works is dead.


Faith is not a badge you wear for others to see

But a trust for you to use

Faith is s shock absorber for your journey,

A lubricant for your life

It is the protein for your growth

The catalyst to hope for the future

For without faith it is impossible.

20 Dec ’07. Viji Roberts.


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