“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)
When was the last time that you heard of someone like this woman in the passage above who came to a “man of God” (let’s say a preacher, or a teacher of God’s word) to say, “Please heal my daughter because she has a demon!” It is not too often we hear of people doing this. The reason, I believe, is not because there are no demons around, but rather, there are very few people of “faith” around! Look what Jesus said about this woman, whose first words were, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexted with a devil (ie. evil spirit, improperly translated “devil” in the KJV). He called her a woman of great faith! Why was her faith great, and why was she rewarded by Jesus in that he was willing to heal her daughter?
First, she was not like so many of us, who tend to “pass off” spiritual things and reduce them to the mere natural. She did not say, “Lord, my daughter is sick; please heal her.” But rather, “My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil (i.e. evil spirit).” She did not wash that one under the carpet but rather came out and said it! This was an evil spirit that was causing the problem! How did she know!?? Well, there are some tell-tale signs of evil spirits which she obviously knew about. Her cultural surroundings also did not deny the presence of evil spirits. So her faith was not “dampened” in this respect. Supposing she had come to Jesus with a different confession … “Lord, there’s something wrong with my daughter … not sure what it is … but it’s awefully bad!” How do you think this would have fared in Jesus’s eyes? Sometimes we have to call a spade a spade … and if we’re not absolutely, 100% sure, well, let the Lord deal with that! Notice how the Lord did NOT rebuke her for calling the demon a demon! Instead he healed the daughter! Praise the Lord! How often do we call a demon a demon?! I think about 1 time in a hundred … if that! We’re missing 99 out of a 100 demons and passing them off as physical ailments! And we’re not getting healed, either! Because our faith level is “way down there!” No, but I say, it’s time to start calling a demon a demon! This woman started off on the RIGHT foot!
Second, look what this woman did. She did not go to the local preacher or to the priest, but she went to the LORD! That is so key! I’m not saying not to go to a preacher for healing, but make sure you’re not just following a person around … make sure your reliance is on the Lord when you go to these (healing) services!
Third, this woman was tested! First, Jesus said, evidently within her hearing, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” What was her response to this test? I think so many of us would stop right there! We would turn around and bow our head (and perhaps wag our tail!) and be gone! The Scripture says, “Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.” Praise the Lord! She didn’t give up! This woman was not about to depart! She KNEW that God loved her and had the ability to heal her! There is where I think we also fail sometimes in our faith — we don’t persevere in steadfast faith. We give up too easily. Rather than worshipping, as this woman did, we turn around instead and go home. We may even sulk, at home, when really, we should be at a worship service!
Fourth, the second test! Jesus responded by saying, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” She was not a Jew. Jesus had come first for the Jews. Jesus was calling the Jews “children” here, and he was referring to non-Jews as “dogs” (quite a term, don’t you think!?) Did she take offence? If so, it would have spelled the end of any healing for her daughter! Oh, friend, if we could only learn the lesson not to take offense when others come close at offending us! Push on with the Christian faith! Do the work of the Lord! But don’t let others offend you unnecessarily! As the apostle Paul said, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18) This woman passed the test victoriously, because she responded with a calm and self-controlled spirit, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
I love the end of the story, “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) Wow. It took all that! But in the end, she won! It was a double victory, in fact. She won, and the Lord won, as well, for he was glorified in the whole thing, and continues to be glorified even today, two thousand years later! Praise the Lord! May we all do as well!