How great is your faith?  Do obstacles get in your way?

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Matthew 15

22 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.”

23 But He answered her not a word.

And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”

24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

28 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.

On the surface, it would appear that Jesus did not want to help this Canaanite, Gentile woman.  It appears that Jesus actually insulted her to get rid of her.  She came with a great need, her daughter was possessed and it was a severe condition.  No doubt this mother heard of Jesus that he was casting out demons every day and came to him in utter desperation.  Being a Gentile woman, she would have had to enter a foreign place to even find Jesus but her desperation for her daughter pushed her past her discomfort and maybe even her prejudice to find the Savior.

So imagine this hurting woman’s shock when Jesus seemed to ignore her.  Matthew records that Jesus did not answer her.  It appears that the possessed girl’s mother kept crying after Jesus and kept ignoring her until the disciples asked permissions to send her away.  Then, when Jesus finally speaks to her, he tells the woman that he wasn’t sent to the Gentiles but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, to which, of course, she did not belong.  At this point, what would you have done?  Would you have hung your head and gone home?  What we learn here is that this woman’s faith in Christ was greater than her obstacles, for when Jesus told her this, she pushed through the crowd and worshipped him.

At this point Jesus throws one more obstacle at her and tells this grieving mother that He did not come to throw bread to the little dogs under the table but to feed His children, Israel, at the table. Once again, we might have left in frustration and despair but, once again, we see the depth of this woman’s faith in Jesus.  Instead of giving in, the mother who came for help for her daughter pushed through the comparison of herself to the puppies under the table and said that even the little dogs eat what the children drop; would Jesus at least drop her a crumb and heal her daughter?

The response of Jesus is wonderful and in His response we see the Savior’s purpose for this exchange: Jesus was testing the depth of the woman’s faith. Did she come for the wrong motive?  Did she come with a misplaced hope?  Or did she come sincerely believing that Jesus alone could heal her daughter? But this time Jesus is finished testing her, He tells the whole crowd that this woman’s faith is greater than all of theirs and then he casts the demon out of her daughter and sends the woman home in peace.

I have a question for you today: how great is your faith? Do you believe that God can and will do for you that which you need done? When you cry out to the Lord and He seems not to answer, do you keep crying out? The message here is that there are times when the Lord tries our faith to see if apparent obstacles keep us from trusting Him.  We have to admit that there have been obstacles to our faith that have left us feeling the Lord didn’t care.  We could not be farther from the truth.  Just as Christ cared for this woman so he cares for us.  And just as she came through the test and found Christ able to heal her daughter so we must come through the tests of faith to find God able to meet our great needs.

 

Well, my dad did not twist his ankle but he broke his ankle.  He is in a cast up to his thigh.  Poor guy, pray for complete healing and for the determination to go through the process to get up and out again.  He still plans to have his service this Sunday, just from a wheelchair. 

 We had a good time in youth group last night.  Do keep all of our kids in your prayers as they face one trial after another.  It seems like the world, the flesh, and the devil are ever at work battling against them.

 Men, join us for our monthly prayer breakfast this Saturday at Denny’s at 7:30. 

 Have a  great day in the Lord,

PS

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