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 the Lord Jesus began his ministry, the prophecy of Isaiah was unfurled before the eyes of the people when the scroll was publicly read in the synagogue:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Isaiah 61:1)
Healing was part of the ministry to proclaim the kingdom of God. In this passage we discern a heart-moving encounter with a woman of Canaan, also referred to as a Syrophonicean woman in the parallel passage in Mark 7:25-30. She appears out of nowhere and engages in a deep and loving conversation with the Lord; much to the disapproval of the disciples.
REQUEST This petition began with a deeply emotional cry to the Lord. She shouted out loud for Jesus to hear, but others could hear her as well. Here was a woman who could not contain herself. In her call, we can immediately sense a deep sorrow. Anguish and pain, almost amounting to mourning! Nonetheless, she went to the right person -- the Lord Jesus Christ and we note that she could see the unique attributes of this individual.
Mercy She touched on an important attribute of God, a tender, meaningful character of the Almighty One. It refers to compassion like no other, delivered to the needy soul by divine grace. She readily recognises who Jesus is: a man of God and a man from God. It’s interesting to note in the scripture that it is the outcast - the Gentile, poor, marginalised both Gentile and Jew who call upon The Lord Jesus in this way reminding the hearer of this unique attribute of God; His mercy-one that saves. Others recognised this as well. In Matthew 17:14-21, a man whose son is unwell sought Jesus for help.
In Matthew 9:27-28 and Matthew 20:30-31, two blind men could perceive with their spiritual eyes, the mercy of Christ! The mercy of the Lord leads to salvation, to freedom, to the total unloading of burdens and release from oppression
The apostle Paul knew all about this mercy which saved him:
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. (1 Timothy 1: 14-16)
Peter also reminds the church of this character of God which saves and sustains:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2: 9-10)
This calling upon the mercy of God by the Canaanite woman was a cry for the salvation of God meted out and graciously served through His loving kindness and tender mercy for a sinful world. Peter’s reminder to church is that we have obtained this mercy and that even today this mercy will save us. Have you called upon this merciful God?
Lord The woman if Canaan knew that this was no ordinary person. He is Lord. The Lord God Almighty who is supreme. Jesus is declared as the Son of the Highest.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: (Luke 1:32)
Only the LORD God Almighty could heal her daughter who was severely demon-possessed!
Son of David This is a unique title and a clear reference to the Messiah – a name which was reserved exclusively for the coming one of the Jewish nation. In this instance it is used with precision by this Gentile woman. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. (2 Samuel 7:16)
The prophecy, promise and the covenant made by God himself, now fulfilled in the opening lines of the New Testament:
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)
The Lord Jesus - His physical ancestry through the blood line of David as well as the spiritual promise of King who will come as the Messiah, whose kingdom will be forever. The woman of Canaan could recognise this and so did the two blind men on two separate occasions in Matthew’s gospel. The Lord Jesus himself referred to the fact that He is from the lineage of David (Matthew 22:42-46)
The closing words of Scripture end with this powerful declaration that the Lord Jesus himself is intimately linked with David:
I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Revelation 22:16)
Jesus is in fact creator and Lord of David, yet 'offspring', hence Son of David. Worship
The cry before the Lord Jesus is finally seen by an act of worship and a plea. She cries and evokes His mercy. She calls Jesus Lord, Son of David. The woman of Canaan worships the Lord Jesus and finally makes that desperate request – ‘Lord Help Me’.
We note that the Lord Jesus does not reply immediately. There is silence (Mathew15: 23) as we see the reckless interruption of the disciples and the need for the Lord Jesus to answer them first. When He said ‘I was sent to the lost sheep of Israel’, we immediately note that the reply is in tandem with His commandment given to them earlier:
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 10: 5-7)
Although this is the plan of the Father, we note that the Gentile woman and her daughter are in no way, excluded in the same way that we are not.
He came unto His own, and His own received him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.
(John 1: 11-12)
The Lord Jesus is about to reveal this plan of God to a lost and seeking world. After the woman says Lord help me (Mathew 15:25), Jesus makes a statement, which at first instance may appear derogatory.
It may not be good to take the children’s bread and throw it to little dogs. It is true that the children need it first (Mathew 15:26). The Canaanite request to the Son of David was simple and from a repentant heart, when she said that even the pet dogs will willingly feed from the master's table (Mathew 15:27). Whereupon her faith is affirmed by the Lord Jesus. (Mathew 15:28) It is interesting to note that on a few occasions the Lord Jesus also commends the faith of the Gentiles in His other encounters (Matthew 8:10). At the same time, He will rebuke his disciples with the commonly misquoted phrase, 'O ye of little faith' (Matthew 8:26). The Lord Jesus commends the faith of this Gentile woman and this is the assurance of salvation that follows true repentance. RESTORATION
...And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. (Matthew 15:28)
There was healing -- restoration of the body, mind and soul of the daughter. The mother was restored to the one true God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Bless the Lord , O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; (Psalm 103: 2-3)
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (Psalm 23:3)
We can do what this poor, humble outcast Canaanite woman did. To cry to the merciful Lord, the Son of David, confess our sin and the need for Him as Saviour, receive His affirmation and be restored in union and fellowship with the Father. If we have strayed from His path as someone who once confessed Christ, the pathway back is no different.
One final thought for us as we see this miracle: we can cry for our family as well. This is what the woman did and was overwhelmed by the salvation of God. LORD HELP ME!