The Great Faith of a Canaanite Woman

The Canaanite Woman Begging Jesus for her daughter's healing and deliverance from Demon possession

The Great Faith of The Canaanite Woman.

Daily Spirit & Word: 824: The Great Faith of the Canaanite Woman.

Yesterday, in St Luke’s we had the following Gospel reading about a Canaanite woman who came running after Jesus.

 

Matthew 15:21-28 (NIV)
21  Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
22  A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”
23  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.”
24  He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25  The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26  He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
27  “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
28  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Tyre & Sidon: Canaanite Territory.

When Jesus sent His disciples out, he told them not to go to the Canaanites or anyone else, but only to the LOST SHEEP of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6). What was Jesus doing in Canaanite territory? We know from Mark’s Gospel that Jesus had withdrawn to be alone with His disciples, moving away from the busy shedule of Gallilee and the surrounding towns, the hustle of the crowds and the persecution of the Sadducees and Pharisees. But was that His only reason for going?

Matthew 10:5-6 (NIV) Disciple’s Instructions.
5  These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6  Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

What or Who are the Lost Sheep of Israel?

1) We must keep in mind Jesus’ mission: He came to redeem Israel. He was Israel’s Messiah. He was born of the house of King David, He was from the tribe of Judah, Jesus was very much a Jew with a mission to the Jews FIRST…

2) Jesus mission: To call sinners to REPENTANCE: The Jews at that time were the only ones who’d been given God’s revelation of His Holy Standards of Goodness: Through their Laws and the Ten Commandments. They still taught that law, but didn’t live according to it. They knew their lives were in breach of God’s Law… Jesus was calling God’s Chosen people, the Israelites, to come BACK to God in humility and repentance… They were the Lost Sheep of Israel.

But, Isn’t Jesus The Saviour of the World?

Of course He is, but whilst He was on the Earth, His mission was for the Jews. Only after Jesus mission had been completed, did He send the Church (Empowered by the Holy Spirit) on it’s Mission: To go into all the world and proclaim the Good News of the Gospel.

We can say one thing with certainty about our Lord Jesus: He was focused… He was fixed on His own mission from His Father… He knew why He’d come and was heaven-set on completing that mission. Jesus had a Divinely Fixed Compass, knowing His Father’s will and doing His Father’s will way Jesus highest priority in life. (Our’s is knowing and doing the Saviour’s will, after all we’re Jesus’ Disciples too).

The FAITH of the Canaanite Woman:

She kept up calling after Jesus. So much so that the Disciples complained to Jesus to send her away (Verse 23). They knew, their mission as well as that of Jesus was to the LOST SHEEP of Israel. But the Woman kept calling out to Jesus, until she got a response…

So How DID Jesus Respond to the Canaanite Woman?

1) He ignored her: Verse 23 tells us, “Jesus did not answer a word”…

My friends, the SILENCE of the SAVIOUR in this passage is DEAFENING.

It tells us so much: There are times when Jesus seems NOT to answer our prayers too. It’s as if Jesus is not speaking to us. He seems silent or unresponsive to our cries for help or assistance. But did Jesus hear the woman?

Was Jesus ignoring the woman? I don’t think so. Jesus could hear just as much as His own disciples the woman’s constant cry for help… She was desperate… And when you are desperate and the cure is right in front of you, for you or your relatives, you will NOT STOP until you get the treatment needed.

Does Jesus ignore you? NEVER! He hears our prayers, even before they come out of our mouth. He knows your thoughts (Psalm 139), but He still wants you to ask. But HOW to ask?

Why didn’t Jesus respond? 

Well, we already saw that He’d come for the Lost Sheep of Israel: And she was not a Jew. However, was that it? Was anyone who was not a Jew healed by Jesus?  Of course they were, because we’ve already seen Jesus going beyond that boundary; He healed the Centurion’s Servant: Matthew 8…

Matthew 8:5-13 (NIV) Centurion’s Humility…
5  When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.
6  “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralysed and in terrible suffering.”
7  Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
8  The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9  For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10  When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
11  I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12  But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13  Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.

Again: We see in Jesus response to the Centurion’s Humility and Faith: brought about Jesus’ compassion. He knew he didn’t deserve it, He knew Jesus could do it, He had faith enough to ASK for it in humility. However, notice the difference; the woman was almost demanding Jesus do something, the Centurion was asking humbly. We’ll see that’s exactly what happened to the woman too.

SHE CAME AND KNELT: The Woman was Humble: She knelt before Jesus (KJV says, “She worshipped Him”… (You’d think then, that this humility was enough, surely the Lord would see her kneeling and give her what she wants)…

Jesus did respond to the Canaanite woman, but it was not a positive response.

He said to her, these most shocking words. Can you imagine someone saying something like this to someone today? Verse 26  He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

So, even though she’s been crying, now kneeling, begging, crying and pleading, “Please Lord”… Jesus still said “NO”… 

When something’s not right, Jesus will not be MOVED… Remember how Esau begged for his birthright with tears when he sold it for a pot of stew? He didn’t get it, because what he’d done was wrong. Jesus knew why he’d come and wouldn’t be diverted, unless, unless something else was mixed with the CRIES and the PLEADING…. What was the CRITICAL INGREDIENT that got the ANSWER she needed from Jesus?: FAITH.

The Canaanite woman, like the Centurion, eventually got Jesus message, she now KNEW that she didn’t deserve it. However, that knowledge of not deserving, didn’t stop her. But now she’s pleading from the perspective of; A DOG to It’s Master.

I know so many people who are PUT OFF coming to Jesus, because they KNOW they are not right, they don’t deserve it… However, this woman, she knew she didn’t deserve it, but she still came, fell at Jesus feet and begged….

PLEADING DOG: I always remember my mum and dad’s voice when I read this part of the Bible: “Donald, don’t feed the dog at dinner”… I couldn’t look into my dog’s big, round and sad eyes and say no… He had a cold wet nose… he always managed to look so sad… he made funny noises… He stayed by me with his eyes fixed on my hands, watching, waiting, longing… He knew that I was the only one who’d give in and give him what he wanted. Even though my mum and dad had said, “NO!” I couldn’t resist those big sad eyes…

That Canaanite Woman: Was like a Dog who knew her Master’s heart.

Listen to her words, Verse 27 “27  “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

She knew about Dogs too, and about their Masters: Dogs eat the falling food… The scraps that people either toss or drop by accident… No matter what, a dog is determined to stay there until they get what they want….

Her Faith was Doggedely Determined: She knew Jesus could do it. She was going to stay around like a DOG and keep begging until she could get what she needed from Her Master… Not for herself, but for her daughter.

HER FAITH WAS DOGGEDLY DETERMINED

The CANAANITE WOMAN’S RESPONSE:

Verse 27:
27  “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
28  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

What was it that REVEALED to Jesus the woman’s faith?

She knew that a DOG knows its MASTER’S HEART…

Nobody who owns a dog would let it go hungry.

Nobody who owns a dog would never respond… A DOG is a man’s best friend…

The secret of GREAT FAITH my friends, is KNOWING the MASTER’S HEART…

  • Knowing what God wants.
  • Knowing what God is like.
  • Knowing What God does.

Do you know the Master’s Heart? Father God loves to; heal, deliver, forgive, cleanse, refresh and renew. He’s not stopped doing that since the Creation of Mankind; He’s the SAME: Yesterday, today and forever…

MOSES PLEADS THE FATHER’S HEART;

Moses knew that too, and SAVED the Israelites from being struck down with a deadly disease… He KNEW God’s Heart: How He was, “Slow to anger, abounding in love and who forgives sins”… Moses pleaded with God’s own Heart:

The Refusal To Believe in the LORD: Meant they Forfeited The Promised Land:

Numbers 14:17-23 (NIV)
17  “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared:
18  ‘The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.’
19  In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”
20  The LORD replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked.
21  Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth,
22  not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times—
23  not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No-one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.

When you know God’s HEART my friends, and you believe it, trust it, and plead according to it, you can MOVE God with your prayers; just like Moses, the Centurion and this Canaanite woman. So Don’t you dare give up on the LORD! He’ll never give up on you.

Still, in your knowledge of the Father’s Heart: how are you going to respond to this message today?

Like the Canaanite woman, we too can;

  • Be Humble: She knelt before Jesus. Know this; “God lifts up the humble…”
  • Be Sincere: She worshipped Jesus… “True worshippers, will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth”.
  • Be Honest: She knew she didn’t deserve it… We too don’t DESERVE anything from God, in fact, it’s only by His grace we’re not destoryed”. Recognise God’s GRACE, Mercy and Kindness towards you.
  • Be Polite: She called Him her Master. Is Jesus our Master? Let’s really seek to serve Him and honour Him with our lives.
  • Be Persistent: She didn’t stop PLEADING until she got what she needed. She did so, because she knew the Master’s Heart. We too can be persistent with God, knowing the Father’s Heart. How he’s sent us, those who follow Jesus to go into all the world; preach the Gospel, Heal the Sick and Disciple those who respond to the message. Making them into followers and disciples of Jesus, who will also go on to show others the way.

What was DRIVING The Woman?

Her daughter was under the influence of the Devil.

How many of us, are crying out to Jesus as this Canaanite woman did? She kept up following, crying, begging, pleading for Jesus to do something for her daughter. This speaks to me about PERSISTENCE (Heart of Love for our children)… Keep praying to Jesus, don’t give up. How many of our own children are under Satan’s dominion? How many are living in sin, in rebellion, away from the LORD. How many of us plead to the Lord for our own children as this woman did for her’s?

It’s my hope and prayer that you’ll have an awesome week with Jesus.

Remember to meet up regularly with fellow saints in Christ Jesus for fellowship, Bible study, prayer and praise.

Arrange a coffee time with another member of your church, just to catch-up and encourage one another. Remember Hebrews 4:13. Encourage one another every day…

Be blessed and full of Holy Spirit.

Don.

 

When Jesus Forgives

how much we love Jesus will be shown by our appreciation of how much we've been forgiven

Daily Spirit & Word: 733: When Jesus Forgives.

The Woman With The Alabaster Jar

Good morning my friends, you know I said yesterday that it was my day off, well in the evening I had to attend a School Governor’s Meeting at St Luke’s School. The Head of School shared about a certain class that were being challenged to make progress and try harder. On the wall in huge letters it reads, “With Jesus Help We Can”… she pointed out the words and encouraged the class to ask for the Lord to help them understand. She reported, “That class is making progress, the children’s faces light up and they actually ask Jesus for help”…  My friends, when we see Jesus at work like that in our schools and in the lives of children in London today it is an amazing encouragment. It also makes me want to turn afresh to the Lord Jesus in faith today.

Today’s passage comes from Luke’s Gospel and he shares the account of how a sinful woman finds forgiveness in Jesus, but what is it about Jesus in this story that encourages you?

Luke 7:36-50 (NIV)
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
37  When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38  and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39  When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40  Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41  “Two men owed money to a certain money-lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42  Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he cancelled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43  Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt cancelled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44  Then he turned towards the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
45  You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
46  You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.
47  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48  Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49  The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50  Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
First The Pharisee’s Hospitality:

At first you think this Pharisee is being kind to Jesus, inviting him to dinner, but we soon discover that he didn’t even perform the customary greeting or extend the normal welcome. He didn’t greet Jesus with a kiss, he didn’t wash Jesus’ feet, he didn’t anoint Jesus with oil. All of these were normal practice for an honoured guest. It was just customary good manners. It’s a bit like offering someone a cup of tea and a little snack when they come to visit you in London.  What does that tell you about the Pharisee? It reveals that his motives for inviting Jesus to dinner were NOT to honour Him. So we’re left wondering why on earth the Pharisee invited Jesus in the first place.

A Rabbi would be welcomed with a customary kiss.

A Rabbi would have his feet washed, because in those days the roads were dusty and feet would get dirty. The cool water on the feet would also bring comfort.

A Rabbi would also be anointed with some kind of perfume; normally rose water.

That Pharisee didn’t honour the Lord Jesus.

 

My friends, when you follow Jesus Christ today, He comes with you wherever you go. That’s why Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes one of my Disciples, welcomes me”… He is with us, but how do we honour Jesus’ presence? Does his presence make us weep over our sinfulness? Does his presence make us want to honour him and serve him, like the sinful woman did?

 

Let’s see what she did for Jesus that day.

 

The Sinful Woman’s Actions:

  • A SINNER: She knew she was a sinner, she had “lived a sinful life”
  • COMES TO JESUS: She came where she knew Jesus was: Whenever a Rabbi entered a home of a wealthy man, many people would gather around the honoured guest, homes were much more open in those days and that explains how the woman could enter the house so easily.
  • READY TO ANOINT: The very fact that she carried an Alabaster Jar full of perfume indicates that she intended to use it to anoint Jesus. So we don’t know if she’d already met Jesus and had been forgiven by him. Perhaps she was the woman who’d been caught in the act of adultery, we just don’t know.
  • WASHES FEET WITH TEARS: What we do know is this: She wet Jesus feet with her tears: She was either full of remorse about her sinful life or so overcome with joy at being forgiven by Jesus. All we know is that In the presence of Jesus she wept. She was crying so much that her tears soaked Jesus feet.
  • DRIED FEET WITH HAIR: Next she wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair. This too shows us the extent of her remorse and sadness about her sins. Who would wipe a person’s feet with their hair? That’s not normal. A woman’s hair is her glory, but she’s just used it to do the most base act. I don’t know anyone who’d wipe a person’s feet with their hair today and our feet a cleaner than those of someone in Jesus day.
  • KISSES JESUS FEET: Then she began to kiss Jesus’ feet: Who kisses another person’s feet? It’s normal for a defeated foe to bow down and kiss the conqueror’s feet. But it’s not normal to kiss someone’s feet. She must have been so overcome with relief and joy to have been forgiven by Jesus.
  • ANOINTS WITH OIL: Next, she anointed Jesus feet with the perfumed oil from the Alabaster Jar. The smell in the Pharisees’ house would be sweet and pungent.

Though she was a sinner she did everything the host of the house should have done to honour him. It’s strange that a supposed ‘righteous’ man, the Pharisee, didn’t see the need to honour Jesus with the normal good manners, but the SINNER didn’t stop honouring him from the moment she arrived.

The Pharisee’s Attitude Towards The Sinful Woman and Jesus.

Luke 7:39  When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

In those days if a Pharisee was touched by a sinner or a sin contaminated person, then he’d be ritually unclean, so they avoided being touched. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan how the Priest and Levite avoided helping the wounded man, for fear of being made unclean. That’s not what God meant when He said we should avoid sin, whenever we can help someone, we should. Even the most sinful person can be given hope of a changed life. But according to the Pharisees, once a sinner, always a sinner. They looked down on sinful people and avoided all contact with them. Even today some strict sects of Jews will not touch anyone who is not a Jew. They view them as sinners or unclean. So the Pharisee is condemning of Jesus as well as having a stand-off attitude towards the sinful woman. He’s questioning Jesus prophetic anointing simply because Jesus is allowing himself to be touched by a supposed sinner. Simon didn’t know if Jesus had already forgiven this woman.

You can almost hear the condemnation: “She is a SINNER”… i.e. in the mind of the Pharisee, there was no hope for the woman, she was a sinner once and she’ll always be that sinful woman.

Jesus Didn’t Condemn or Criticise The Sinful Woman.

He’s a wonderful example of how we should be towards those we KNOW are sinners. We cannot be like that Pharisee, because we know how much the Lord has also forgiven us. We too are sinners and we too need to be cleansed and forgiven.

That little story of Jesus about the debts being forgiven.

I love the way that Luke has recounted this meeting in the Pharisee’s house.

He sets the scene and right in the middle includes one of the most amazing and insightful teachings of Jesus.

In just two verses we discover pure GOLD:

Luke 7:41-42.
41  “Two men owed money to a certain money-lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42  Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he cancelled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Five Hundred or Fifty: That’s an amazing difference. Of course the one who’s been let off the most debt is the one who’d be most appreciative. But you’d think that the one who’d been forgiven a little would also be a little bit grateful.

The Pharisee got it right, but then Jesus points out the sinful woman: She’s been doing for me Simon what you should have done. Imagine how Simon the Pharisee must have felt at that moment in time? Confronted and shown how wrong his own attitude was towards both the sinful woman and Jesus. I’ll bet he wanted to hide under his dinner table that day.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had that feeling coming upon you? I’ve had it a few times, when the Lord brings conviction, all you want to do is hide. I had it in church once, I was looking at other people and in my heart judging them. Then the Lord spoke to me, “Who are you to condemn anyone else, I’ve forgiven them, I’ve also forgiven you”…. I’ll never forget how embarrassed I was, my face went red, I bowed my head and closed my eyes and asked Jesus to forgive me. I was reminded of just how much I’d been forgiven and that it was my own sins that put the nails in Jesus’ hands and feet, and the spear into his side. It was my sins that thrust the crown of thorns upon His head.

The the most amazing pronouncement from Jesus lips:

“Your sins are forgiven.” and “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

The woman’s actions towards Jesus demonstrated her faith. She believed that Jesus was the one good, righteous, religious, Rabbi who wouldn’t condemn her, she came to Jesus and cried at his feet and ends up being forgiven and more “go in peace”. There’s a deep peace we experience when we’ve been cleansed and forgiven by the Lord Jesus.

I’ve been a Christian since 1984, but I feel Jesus is asking me afresh this morning, “Donald, How’s your LOVE for Me?”

I think about that poor woman who was so aware of her sinful condition and probably reminded about it constantly by those who knew all about her life. No wonder she was so filled with faith when she encountered Jesus and wanted to do anything she could for him.

The story doesn’t tell us when Jesus forgave the woman. It might have been before he went to the Pharisees house to have dinner that day and she later discovered where Jesus was and wanted to do something special for Him. We don’t know if it was at the house she was forgiven, but we know she was a sinner, she acted in faith and was rewarded by being forgiven and sent away in peace.

I think how much I love Jesus will be determined by how much I know I’ve been forgiven and the cost of my forgiveness. Jesus gave His life so that I could be clean. When I experience the cleansing and washing away of my sins it produces within me an inward gratitude and inexpressible joy, it means that I want to serve the Lord Jesus and give so much, that like the woman with the expensive alabaster jar, I’ll pour out my life and what I’ve been given in His service. Oh LORD Jesus, I love You.

FAITH that expresses itself in LOVE towards Jesus.

  • When we’ve been forgiven by Him all SHAME is removed.
  • When we’ve been forgiven by Him all CONDEMNATION is washed away.
  • When we’ve been forgiven by Him new LOVE grows within us.
  • When we’ve been forgiven by Him new LIFE begins.

When we’ve been forgiven so much by Jesus, we’ll LOVE Him lots too.

Notice Jesus words again; “Your sins are forgiven.” and “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Jesus gives us FAITH to believe, then rewards us when we use the FAITH we’ve been given and gives us PEACE. That’s such Amazing Grace.

Finally, we’re left with the people questioning: “Who is this who even forgives sins?” The Jews knew that God alone can forgive sins. Jesus was God on earth, because we know too that ONLY God can forgive sin. But I’ve written enough for today 🙂

How much we love Jesus will be shown by how much we appreciate we’ve been forgiven by Him.

Hope you all have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful faith filled weekend with Jesus.

Don.