This event was built around the conversation between Lord Jesus and a gentile woman.
Notice here that Lord Jesus traveled all the way to the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon.
This was a Canaanite territory where the Lord met this Canaanite woman.
I. THE LOCATION (v.21)
Lord Jesus referred to both the places in Matt 11:21-22 criticizing the people of Bethsaida who never repented in spite of HIS miracles performed there.
Matthew says Lord was leaving or withdrawing from the previous place which was Gennesaret.
In the Old Testament times this region was called Phoenicia where Canaanites lived.
They were thoroughly pagans and seeped in all cultic practices.
This is the only time HE went to a Gentile territory during HIS ministry.
So Why the Lord was going to a totally gentile region?
Lord needed some time off as HE was physically & emotionally tired, and wanted to rest alone with His disciples.
Lord Jesus also wanted to spend time with His disciples alone to teach them.
Unfortunately even in a gentile region it was not possible for the Lord.
II. THE CONVERSATION (22-27)
She believed that HE is the promised Messiah and to her a Jewish king, “Son of David.”
She was desperate for her daughter’s deliverance from demon possession.
Two things are clear here: She knew who HE is and HE has the power to deliver her daughter from the demon.
Being a Canaanite she is also well aware of the ancient rivalry with the Jews.
It appeared that Lord was mean to her – a woman with a great need.
But the gospels reveal that Lord Jesus is always compassionate to those who are hurting.
Lord sometimes causes the faith of His people to be tested.
This woman’s faith was tested by ignoring of her request - but she passed the test.
Verses 24&25: His response reflects His primary mission in the world was to reach out to the people of Israel.
The “lost sheep of the house of Israel” does not mean in the literal sense.
All Israel was lost without salvation thru Lord Jesus Christ.
His own mission was primarily to Israel but HIS great commission was to the entire world.
Verse 26: In one sense the Lord was saying that I came to the Jews exclusively and you have no part in their blessings.
In other sense Lord Jesus pushed her a little further, reminding her of the historic distinction between the cursed Canaanites and the blessed Israelites.
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
This woman knew how to get to impress the Lord Jesus and grant her request.
First she is a mother and her prime objective is to deliver her daughter from the demon.
She humbled herself and even calling herself a dog looking for scraps under the table.
She will take what the Jews do not want.
III. PERSISTENT FAITH REWARDED (28)
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
She had no resentment, no anger about her situation; she only knew that HE was the Jewish Messiah who came to heal people, and for some reason He was in her town.
It is significant that the two times in the Gospel accounts Lord Jesus commended someone having “great faith”.
Both were gentiles – one was Roman Centurion and other was this Syrophoenician woman. Interestingly HE healed both at a distance – not touching the person.
Lord Jesus is making it clear that the grace of God will be given to all who believe.
This Gentile woman had greater faith than the Jews and was rewarded accordingly.
On this Mother’s Day, we can learn some important lessons from her story.
Most importantly we know that she never gave up – humbled herself for the sake of her daughter – she was rewarded for her persistent faith.
The Lord may not respond immediately but HE will honor the faith of a mother and her persistent prayers.