Monday, May 27, 2024

Faith That Doesn’t Give Up

She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” (Matthew 15:27 NLT)

When the door slammed in her face, she just knocked on it. She pressed on and would not be discouraged. She would not take no for an answer. 

She was a Canaanite, and she was from the area of Tyre and Sidon, a region outside Israel where the enemies of the Jews lived. The problem was that her daughter was demon-possessed. 

Meanwhile, Jesus’ popularity had been growing. He had recently performed His most popular miracle to date, where he fed more than five thousand people. Then suddenly He left the country and went to Tyre and Sidon.

Apparently, Jesus had an appointment with this Canaanite woman. She hadn’t grown up as a Jew, knowing the Scriptures. She certainly didn’t have the privilege of walking and talking with Jesus. In fact, she was a pagan.

We don’t know how her daughter became demon-possessed, but it probably had something to do with false worship and idols in their home. This mother, disillusioned with these false gods, made her way to Jesus Christ, the one true God.

She approached Him and cried out, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely” (Matthew 15:22 NLT).

However, Jesus didn’t respond to her cries, which seems curious. He made the long journey, apparently to meet with this woman. But when she went and asked for His help, He acted as though she wasn’t even there. He didn’t appear to care at all.

Yet that wasn’t the case. Jesus knew this woman’s faith. And He knew that she would rise to the occasion. He was doing this so He could provide an example for His disciples. He wasn’t being flippant. Rather, He was drawing her out.

The disciples, however, misinterpreted what He was doing and tried to send her away. Maybe she was creating a bit of a scene and they were embarrassed. Finally, Jesus said to her, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel” (verse 24 NLT).

But she wouldn’t give up, and Jesus knew this. So He said, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs” (verse 26 NLT). With what little she knew about Jesus, she applied dramatic faith. We might even describe it as amazing faith, so much so that Jesus said, “Dear woman . . . your faith is great. Your request is granted” (verse 28 NLT).

Clearly Jesus was an expert on faith. And He was saying, “Your faith is amazing to Me. It is a great faith.” He wanted the disciples to remember it. Thus, the Bible preserves this woman’s amazing story of faith for us as an example to follow.

We often find faith in unlikely places. It is grace, not the place, that makes people believers. Sometimes, especially if we’ve been in a Christian environment for quite a while, we start taking things for granted. And the very place where our hearts should be transformed can be the very place where they become hardened.

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