And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.” (Matthew 15:21–28, ESV)

If I am honest for years I struggled with this passage. This is most likely due to the fact that I (like most of us) have felt the sting of rejection at times, and as a result I focused more on the words Jesus said to her than her response to them. But now this is one of my favorite passages . There is a lot to glean from it. Including the fact that:

  1. Jesus came to her – The passage says “Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out” So Jesus, who was fully God (as well as fully man), and therefore would be all knowing, came to a place where she was. She was no surprise to him.
  2. Jesus said that her Faith was greatEven though Matthew uses the “great” word twenty times in his book, this is the only time that he links it with the word “faith.” Also it “is interesting that Jesus does not commend the woman’s persistence or her humility.”1 Those are things that are about her character. Jesus only complemented two people on their faith. She was one and the Roman centurion, (Matthew 8:10) was the other.  So what does great faith look like? Well:2 

*Great Faith Looks Like Self-forgetfulness – She sought Jesus at all cost, regardless of how she looked to others.

And Jesus only complemented two people on their faith. She was one and the Roman centurion, (Matthew 8:10) was the other. There are several reason he could have done so, such as:2

*Great Faith Focuses on a Higher Power – She knew that Jesus could do for her daughter what she had to power to.

*Great Faith Does Not Quit When Obstacles Interfere – Jesus tested her faith by giving her reasons to give up. But she persisted. Phillips Brooks said “Do not pray for easy lives. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.” Never quit!

*Great Faith Wins – If you are doing what God has called you do do, you will accomplish it in his timing.

3. Jesus answered her Prayer – Jesus gave her the desire of her heart through her faith in him.

So now looking at this passage I see that she was a woman who pursued God with all her heart, and although she did struggle, she was heard, and her prayer was answered.

Not every prayer may be answered in the way that we desire, but every prayer of ours will be answered. We will not be turned away.

All verses from: The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 15:21–22.

  1. Leon Morris, The Gospel according to Matthew, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992), 405–406

2. Outline taken from LeRoy Lawson, Matthew: Unlocking the Scriptures for You, Standard Bible Studies (Cincinnati, OH: Standard, 1986), 196.

Love one another

Don’t think I ever heard Jesus say…

Love your Neighbors…unless they are homeless..

Love your Neighbors…unless they are undocumented.

Love your Neighbors…unless they are different.

Love your Neighbors…unless they are not Christian.

Love your Neighbors…unless they are Muslim.

Love your Neighbors…unless they inconvenience you.

Love your Neighbors…unless they are Poor.

Love your Neighbors…unless they are asking for help.

I am constantly am seeing Christian brothers and sisters post things about things they don’t like and calling them “these people” as if they are repulsive. It is a way of dehumanizing others.

Jesus never UNLESS he said LOVE.YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. – Mark 12:31

and he also said

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” – Matthew 25:40.

So the next time you are rejecting “these people” think about who you are rejecting!!

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,  I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” -Matthew 25:41-46


Jesus said this about belief

Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.” – Matthew 21:21=22 (The Message)