The Mother of Great Faith
Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once. Matthew 15:21-28 (NASB95)
Intro: In a day when things have changed radically, especially when it comes to families, one thing remains the same: Moms are a special gift from God. God created the family and he created mothers to nurture and bless. Because they are special they are popular. You never see a pro athlete say “Hi, dad.” More money is spent on Mother’s Day than father’s day by far. Moms are so popular even advertisers capitalize on it. See if you can identify these five mom-related advertising slogans:
1. Choosy moms choose... Jif peanut butter
2. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature…. Chiffon margarine
3. Mama mia, that's a spicy meatball!... Alka-Seltzer
4. Kid-tested, mother approved… Kix cereal
5. Recommended by Dr. Mom… Robitussin
The Bible has many well known stories about Mothers (Mary, Hannah), but today I want to share a message with about a mother you may not know. Her name is not given, but her story is an example to us all…
I. A desperate mother
Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” Matthew 15:21-22 (NASB95)
Here’s a woman desperate for help. Her daughter is possessed by a demon. This most likely manifested itself in the form of some mental and/or physical illness. The word of Jesus’ power to heal spread through the land, and when she learned of His visit, she went to Him. From her words we learn that…
- She believed in His deity (Lord)
- She believed He was the promised son of David (Messiah)
- She believed in His power to answer her request
- She believed He was interested and would answer
Next we see she was a…
II. A persistent mother
But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” Matthew 15:23-25 (NASB95)
Jesus ignored her. The disciples rebuked her. But she kept on shouting. Then Jesus kind of brushes her off: “This party is for Jews only.”
She wasn’t a Jew; she was a Canaanite. Canaanites weren’t recipients of the promises of God as it related to the Messiah. This is something we have a hard time understanding as Westerners of the 21st century. We think Jesus was a blue-eyed, brown haired white man. But He wasn’t. He was an olive-skinned, brown-eyed Jew. This thought is found throughout the gospels.
But she was not deterred. She was even more determined, coming right up to Jesus’ feet and crying, “Lord, help me!”
She was desperate, she was persistent, and she was…
III. A faith-filled mother
And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once. Matthew 15:26-28 (NASB95)
The word picture is clear: the Jews were the children of God’s house, the bread was the blessing of healing and redemption, and the Gentiles were the house pets sitting at their feet.
Her response is classic: “That is true, Lord. But God has provided such an abundance for His people, surely the overflow is enough to feed even the dogs that scurry around His table.”
Jesus must have cocked His head back in joyous laughter at the woman’s words.
He wasn’t being rude as some have suggested. He was testing this woman’s faith and teaching her about the ways of God. She passed the test and her daughter was healed.
In this story there’s a word for all mothers, and for all of us…
- Take all your cares to Jesus.
Of all people, mothers worry the most! I think it’s built into their system by God so they’ll be sensitive to the needs of their children and family. This woman took her worries to the only One who could help her. But listen to this…
This woman didn’t approach Jesus because she was righteous and deserving of His help. She approached Him because she knew He was merciful.
Works the same for us! The Bible says there are none righteous, no not one. But it also says God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Jesus said for all who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him. Thankfully, He extended the blessings to us Gentiles.
He cares about you so you can take all your cares to him…
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB95)
The second thing we learn is…
- Never give up taking your cares to Jesus.
Charles Spurgeon reflected… Genuine seekers who as yet have not obtained the blessing, may take comfort from the story before us. The Saviour did not at once bestow the blessing, even though the woman had great faith in him. He intended to give it, but he waited awhile. “He answered her not a word.” Were not her prayers good? Never better in the world. Was not her case needy? Sorrowfully needy. Did she not feel her need sufficiently? She felt it overwhelmingly. Was she not earnest enough? She was intensely so. Had she no faith? She had such a high degree of it that even Jesus wondered, and said, “O woman, great is thy faith.” See then, although it is true that faith brings peace, yet it does not always bring it instantaneously. There may be certain reasons calling for the trial of faith, rather than the reward of faith. … Many in waiting upon the Lord find immediate delight, but this is not the case with all. … Ah! poor heart, though Christ beat and bruise thee, or even slay thee, trust him; though he should give thee an angry word, believe in the love of his heart. Do not, I beseech thee, give up seeking or trusting my Master…
Jesus told a parable about persistence…
Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. “There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ “For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’ ” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? Luke 18:1-7 (NASB95)
Sometimes we interpret a delay in getting our prayers answered as “no.” But that it not always the case. Jesus may be saying “wait” so that we might learn something or be built up in Him.
The last thing I want us to know this morning is…
- Have faith in Jesus’ power to take care of all your cares.
And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23 (NASB95)
Conclusion : Folks, on this Mother’s Day let’s mirror the model found in this lowly Cannanite mother: Take all your cares to Jesus, Never give up taking your cares to Jesus, Have faith in Jesus’ power to take care of al your cares.
Roger F. Campbell, Preach for a Year, Includes Indexes. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1988-<c1996), 83.
C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening : Daily Readings (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995), October 9 PM.