October 13, 2006

A Mother's Faith

Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." Matthew 15:28


A woman from the area of Tyre and Sidon, north of the land of Judah, had heard about Jesus' power over demons, and she wanted her daughter to be healed. So when Jesus was in that area, she cried out to him, showing she had faith in the Messiah of God's people: "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."

At first Jesus didn't answer, but later he responded, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." Aware that she was not "of Israel," the woman knelt at his feet and pleaded, "Lord, help me!"

Jesus' next words are often misinterpreted: "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." By this he meant "house dog," referring to a family pet. Jesus chose this illustration to test the mother's faith in the extent of his mercy. "Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the [family pets] eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table."

Jesus saw that she believed his mercy could stretch all the way to her. Though she was outside the nation of Israel, she was a member of the household of God. So he healed her daughter that very hour.

Wherever there is true faith in Jesus, divine mercy is extended. This is the good news that every burdened, anxious person needs to hear.

Lord, look upon us and our loved ones as your children. We need your healing, mercy, and provision each day. Like that mother of long ago we pray, Lord help us. Amen.

About the author — Roger S. Greenway

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