Great Faith in an Unlikely Hour
Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Matthew 15:21-28
It was a day like any other when one California couple decided to take their dog for a walk. While doing so, the couple came across a rusty metal can sticking out of the ground on their property. No big deal, right? I guess it wouldn't be except that this rusty can was filled with genuine gold coins. Naturally, this led the couple to investigate the rest of their property, where they found various cans buried at different depths – all filled with golden coins. By the end of their investigation, this couple had located 1,400 $20 gold pieces, 50 $10 gold pieces, 4 $5 gold pieces, and one rare coin valued at $1 million all on its own. In all, this couple discovered buried treasure worth more than $10 million in what most people would consider being the most unlikely place of all – their own backyard.
I would imagine that Jesus' disciples felt the same way in Matthew 15:21-28. They had traveled with Jesus all over Israel, only to have Jesus commend the faith of, what seemed to them to be, a random Canaanite woman in the most unlikely of places.
But Jesus did not view her the way his disciples did. Although Jesus makes clear in this passage that his earthly ministry was to the Jews, he regarded her precious faith as a priceless treasure in the most unlikely of all places. She had great faith, and Jesus wanted his disciples (and us) to learn from her example.
In Matthew 15:21-28, we can learn three vitally important lessons from this dear woman.
Great faith depends on Christ alone.
Great faith endures the pain of silence.
Great faith declares what it knows to be true about God.
I wonder: how great is your faith? Are you frustrated because it seems like your prayers are going unanswered? Are you weary because you aren't sure if God is on your side? Hope in God.
Like this Canaanite woman, you are called to an unwavering faith in the power, mercy, and character of God.
Spurgeon put it this way, "The Lord of glory surrendered to the faith of the woman."
Does your faith depend on Christ, does your faith persist through silence, and does your faith declare what you already know to be true about God? Do you have great faith?