Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” (Matthew 15:23-24 )
We see from the text, Jesus seems to ignore the poor woman and when she keeps crying out to him he finally responds yet seemingly coldly
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
Yet we see the woman does not lose heart even though Jesus appears unconcerned and uninterested.
The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. (Matthew 15:25)
Then we see Jesus seem to respond coldly a second time, “He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” (Matthew 15:26)
Now at this point many would have given up or walked away offended and feel insulted. After all it appeared on the surface level Jesus did not care, but then to add on his responses seemed very insulting.
Yet the woman replies wisely and shows such great faith:
“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” (Matthew 15:27)
When Jesus heard her response he was pleased, and “Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. (Matthew 15:28)
Was this woman’s faith itself the only thing we can see shining out? Was not her humble heart also revealed? She was neither put off or slighted by Jesus’s replies at first but she accepts her unworthiness to demand anything from Jesus. She knows that He does not owe her a thing and He has the right to say no or answer however He decides. She shows she revered Him – yet her faith compelled her to not let Him go until He granted her petition,
As Jacob did in Genesis, he wrestled with the angel of the Lord and said
Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” (Genesis 32:26-28)
We are often put off by God’s silence and forget how God often tests us with His silence. We see in the chapter before Jesus encounters this woman of faith- Jesus sends the disciples ahead of Him in the boat
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. (Matthew 14:22-24)
We see these men in the story out there nearly all of the night panicked until at last
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:25-27)
“Shortly before dawn” and it does not say “When the storm first hit” nor “In the middle of the night” but rather the text shows Jesus came right before “Dawn”
They also could not fully recognize him at first sight and mistook him for a ghost. They were afraid of His approaching and thought they were in danger. Yet they were more close to deliverance then when the storm first began and feared the very Jesus who was then at last coming to them.
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31)
Here Jesus chides Peter for his foolish doubting. Yet a chapter later he says to the Canaanite woman she had great faith.
Though she was a foreigner and not an Israelite, she had more faith then the men Jesus was training to carry on His gospel after he ascended to be with the Father.
We can learn much from these Scriptures. We see Jesus was faithful to the disciples in the boat though they were faithless in that moment.
if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)
We also see that a poor foreign woman had great faith and persistently laid hold of Jesus
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.(Hebrews 11:6)
The Lord rewards bold persistent faith coming from a humble heart. If we come to God in prayer we must humble ourselves and keep persisting in prayer- unless of course it is totally out of the will of God to grant some request, then no amount of persistence can overcome his resolute “no.” As we see Moses prayed to the Lord when God forbid him enter the promised land. Moses asked him to reconsider and God said “No” and “Do not speak to me on this matter anymore.”
Yet obviously the persistence of the woman was not trying to lay hold of what God was reluctant to do- Jesus healed her daughter who was terribly oppressed by the demon.
We should also persist in praying for things we know would honor God and are not outside of His will. If it is not out of his will then often we must persist in prayer till God brings it to pass or he redirects us in our prayer.
For example: Praying for an open door –pray until God either reveals it is not a door to be opened and is not His will
If that does not happen, we ought to continue to pray till He either opens it pr shows us an alternative door or route we must take.
Patience often is very necessary to receive most things from the Lord. We may need to wait patiently until He breaks a long and dreadful silence and finally speaks.
We need patience in order to wait for further instructions so often.
We may feel tired and weak and have prayed for “Strength” yet Isaiah 40:30-31 says: “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30-31)
We may wait for some solution to a problem and seek the way out, yet God will grant new strength to endure and may cause us to have to wait in patience and obedience for a time.
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:4 –
Yet how foolish we are when we try to dictate how God should act and when he should act!