If Matthew 15:22-28 were the only portion of the Bible available to you, how would you look at the story?
A woman not of His people comes to him with a prayer, a request, a plea for help. She’s at the end of her hope and this stranger has shown the ability to heal.
(22) 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.
There is no other example I’ve found where Jesus completely ignored a person. Nationality had no part in His ministry as he healed a Roman’s son and witnessed to a Samaritan woman. Yet here, He ignored the plea. His disciples followed His lead and went a step further. She was a bother to them. Are the pleas of others a bother to us today?
(23) But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
So, He explained to her His purpose.
(24) But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
That didn’t slow her down. She knew, really knew, that He could be of help to her, if only He would listen.
(25) Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
Once again He referred to His original mission – to reach the Children of Israel.
(26) But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
She did not rail at Him over perceived injustice. She did not cry out in denial of His abilities or cry for mercy in spite of His word. She told Him the truth, humbling herself.
(27) And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
She was successful.
(28) 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.
I see multiple lessons here. What I’m looking closely at today is the power of persistent prayer. I can see Jesus giving the lesson of patience to those around Him. Your prayers may have lessons for a number of people around you, or may have lessons years from now. Persistent patience paid off for this Canannite woman.
Another lesson for all of us is faith. O woman, great is thy faith are words that should apply to us, too, but often do not. Without faith, the writer of Hebrews tell us in 11:6, it is impossible to please God. Without faith, Paul tells us in Ephesians 2, we cannot be saved. Without faith, Matthew tells us in 9:22, we cannot be made whole.
Bottom line: Got faith?