Jesus heals the daughter of a Canaanite woman

(Mat 15:21-28 NIV)  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.

Jesus treated her this way to test her for He knows what is in her heart, knew the strength of her faith, and how well able she was to break through such discouragements; that the trial of her faith might eventually result in praise, and honour, and glory. This was like God’s tempting Abraham (Gen 22:1), like the angel’s wrestling with Jacob (Gen 32:24).

(1 Pet 1:6-7 NIV)  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. {7} These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Verse 23 tells us that Jesus did not answer a word. Sometimes we pray to God for something and He does not answer us at all like a man asleep or astonished (Psa_44:23; Jer_14:9; Psa_22:1, Psa_22:2). These are not moments to give up; they are meant to build our faith. If the Canaanite woman had given up at this stage, she would not have experienced the miracle that she sought after. We need to continually press on until we see the work of God in our situation. When the answers of prayer are deferred, God is thereby teaching us to pray more, and pray better.

When she continued her importunity, he insisted upon the unfitness of the thing, and gave her not only a repulse, but a seeming reproach too (Mat_15:26); It is not meet to take the children’s bread and to cast it to dogs.

“How can she expect to eat of the children’s bread, who is not of the family?” Those whom Christ intends most signally to honour, he first humbles and lays low in a sense of their own meanness and unworthiness. We must first see ourselves to be as dogs, less than the least of all God’s mercies, before we are fit to be dignified and privileged with them.

“Is this the Son of David?” (might she have said): “Is this he that has such a reputation for kindness, tenderness, and compassion? I am sure I have no reason to give him that character, for I was never treated so roughly in my life; he might have done as much for me as for others; or, if not, he needed not to have set me with the dogs of his flock.

When we look at our present circumstances, we may be tempted to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness. But we need to look beyond our present circumstances and focus on God’s character. We need to believe that God is good and faithful despite what we are experiencing right now.

Jesus commended her faith. O woman, great is thy faith. There were several other virtues that shone bright in her conduct  – wisdom, humility, meekness, patience, perseverance in prayer; but these were the product of her faith, and therefore Christ fastens upon that as most commendable; because of all graces faith honours Christ most, therefore of all graces Christ honours faith most.