Matthew chapter 15:21-31 (continued)
“Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.’ But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she cries out after us.’
But He answered and said, ‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’ But He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.’ And she said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.”
We ended last time talking about the need for a heart transformation from God. We first of all need to be born-again in Jesus and then we need to present our bodies as living human sacrifices to God for His transformation. He will take us, break us down and rebuild us in the image of Christ. Beware, the old man does not die easily. Even if you constantly surrender and submit to God, that old man may not die. In fact he/she will not die completely until you get your new glorified body from God. But, that old man/woman will begin to lose strength and influence in how we live our lives and use our bodies.
Today we will look at the area of faith. This is an area of expansion that I have had to explore over the past few years. As a young man, at age 14, I put my life and eternity in Jesus’ hands when I asked God to forgive my sins and to save me. At that time, I was taking a baby step of faith. Over the years God has expanded my understanding of His faithfulness to me and my family, as He has faithfully provided for us—even as we had another child. As the expenses of raising children has grown, so too, has God’s faithfulness and provision.
God has met every need and beyond for us, often meeting our needs before we know they are needs. And all the while, He has led us to give more than we have ever given before. We (my wife Marny and I) have learned that you cannot out give God. And we have learned to be faithful in giving, even when it appears that we don’t have enough. But God always makes sure that there is enough. He simply does.
A Gentile’s Woman’s Faith, Verses 21-28
We all know that Jesus came primarily to the Jews. He was sent by God to Israel to reveal Himself to them and to be rejected by them. In this action, they set up the opportunity for the sinless Jesus to be executed and die for the sins of all men. The just dying for the unjust. Jesus reiterates this fact. In verse 24, Jesus states that He was sent to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But then this woman launches into a leap of faith that shames most believers.
She reminds me of a certain Centurion that we meet in Matthew 8. He trusted that Jesus did not have to come into his home to heal an ill servant. He, Jesus, simply had to speak the word and the servant would be healed. Jesus marveled at his faith and understanding of Jesus’ power. He commented that He has not seen this kind of faith even in Israel (Matthew 8:10).
As we travel through the Scriptures we are met with great men and women of faith. God in particular challenged the faith of the people that called Him God. From the call to build an Ark, to a baby born to Abraham when he was 100 years old, to the parting of the Red Sea, to the fall of the walls of Jericho, and on and on we could go.
One situation in particular that stands out to me is found in 1 Kings 17, where Elijah instructs the widow of Zarephath to make him some food from the last flour and oil that she has, and to trust God to supply her needs. When she obeyed, God was faithful to her. She had to look beyond what she could see and trust the God she could not see.
This woman in our account could see God. Jesus stood right before her. She had to believe that He was who He said He was and that He could do all that God does. She accepted that He was/is the Almighty One of Israel and so she acted. Faith requires action. Faith requires obedience. Further, she refused to relent in her asking simply because she was not from Israel.
This woman understood that she did not need the full power or attention of Jesus to make her daughter well. What she needed was just a little of His power, the little bits that no one misses, just like the crumbs that the dogs ate. Jesus actually ignored her and his disciples wanted her to be sent away (verse 23). They were annoyed.
So how did she get Jesus attention? First she came and worshipped Him (verse 25) and then she asked for His help. This got His attention. Sincere worship and an honest cry for help and Jesus was immediately engaged in conversation with her. How many of us sincerely worship Jesus? And how many of us sincerely ask for His help?
This woman had no other solution, she had no plan “B’” and no way in her own power to save her daughter. She was totally reliant on Jesus and she was unashamed to admit it publicly. She worshipped Him in front of everyone there, and asked for help openly. She was not ashamed to call Him Lord. Jesus healed her daughter and commended her “great faith” to the people there in the crowd, and to us for all eternity as recorded in the Scriptures.
I will confess that this passage and others like it hit me very hard. I have never had someone instantly healed by me praying for them. People that I have prayed for have been healed and some truly miraculously. No one expected them to get better and they did. We glorified Jesus and praised Him, but I have never gone into a room with an ill person and had them healed instantly.
I know Jesus is God, I believe that He is the Almighty and I know that He alone can raise a person up and so I call on Him to heal. Some have recovered over time and some have died. But this is not what we see here in the Scriptures. We see an instant healing. Full and complete restoration.
So what am I missing?
I have been asking this questions for some time now. What I can attest to is that Jesus is faithful to me. He has answered my prayers 100 percent of the time. Sometimes I get an instant answer, other times I get an answer over time and sometimes He just says “NO” and that is often audible to my heart and ears.
There are times when I have asked God a question and I get an answer right in my head almost as if He is right there next to me. There are times when I have thought a certain thing and immediately the Spirit of God in me speaks to me about the way I am thinking. I have fought God on many occasions, and He has been patient with me and in the midst of my rebellion.
He remains faithful and He miraculously reveals Himself to me in so many ways. My mother is ill with Alzheimers. What if I could just go and ask Jesus to heal her and He did. I have asked, over and over and she is still ill. There is that nagging query in my heart, that maybe if I had more faith she would be okay.
The Word of God challenges us to seek God every day and every moment to make sense of this life that we have. One day I hope to have faith like this woman. But let me also encourage you doubters, me included, she had a faith of sight. She saw Jesus heal the sick and maybe even saw Him cast out demons first handed.
She knew it could be done by Him, we walk by faith and not by sight. We have not seen and still believe, we have not seen these miracles and still call Him Lord, Master and Savior. Even if Jesus never did another miracle in my life, the truth is He has done more than I deserved, in truth I deserved to die and go to hell. He rescued me, He redeemed me with His precious blood and
He keeps me where I cannot keep myself. He has healed my sickness of sin and given me a peace and comfort that is greater than all I could imagine. I hope that you have Him, rather I hope He has you! If He does, rejoice, for He has raised you from the dead and you are truly alive.
The Multitudes Still Need Him, Verses 29-31
We live in a world that tries to be so self-sufficient. Even we Christians want to live independently of Jesus. We want to be “self made” fixing our lives without Jesus. What a mess we have created. These folk, these multitudes came to Jesus because they had no other solution. He was all the hope that they had and had He not helped there would have been no one else to help them.
Like these multitudes we simply need to bring our broken, ailing lives and families to Jesus. He alone can fix all the ailments we have. Broken homes, wasted lives, depression, anxiety, loneliness—you can name the list of troubles for which we need Jesus. We just need the Master’s touch. We need His compassion and help. If we could just get out of the way long enough for Jesus to simply be God, our lives would be so different.
I love the phrase “They laid them down at Jesus’ feet and He healed them” (verse 30).
When is the last time that you laid your hurts at Jesus’ feet? Was it when you had nowhere else to go, no one else to help, when you had exhausted books, doctors, potions, prayer even and worry. Was is when you were empty from trying to fix whatever it was, and you came simply to lay the issue, the person, the need at Jesus’ feet.
Even if He did nothing to help the situation, at least He carrying the load for you now. That burden is off your shoulders. Why do we /I try to carry these burdens by ourselves? We are frail and made of dust, our finite minds can barely handle the normal burdens of life. Furthermore, the troubles that come with this life let us run to Jesus and make this verse our own.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Could you imagine the rest these people felt when Jesus touched them or their loved ones and not only healed their broken bodies, He healed their lives and they finally had a leader that they could depend on; someone who loved them and cared for them. Someone who had real power and real presence. That day there was rejoicing when Jesus came and fixed them.
Let Him fix you. Look at the response; they glorified the God of Israel. For the first time in a long time these few Jews had the right opinion of God. That is what the Word to glorify means, they had the right opinion of Him.
When you carry burdens that only Jesus can take or try to fix things that only Jesus can fix, you begin to have the wrong opinion of God. But, when you simply lay your burdens at Jesus’ feet and stop trying to be God, He can be God and you will stand in awe of Him. You, too, will glorify the God of Israel. Let Jesus be God, your God.