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Grace Lutheran Church Weekly Devotion - Matthew 15:21–28

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Reverend Steven Zandstra

Matthew 15:21–28

Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

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Matthew paints a contrasting picture of faith.  You would think healing the sick, feeding 5000 people, and the walking on water would have instilled in the disciples an unbreakable faith in Christ Jesus.  Yet, Peter, one of the closest disciples of Jesus, doubted and began to sink in the sea (cf. 14:29).  Today we are told of a Canaanite woman, a descendant of the idolatrous people Israel was supposed to destroy when they conquered the Promised Land, coming to Jesus, begging for mercy, calling Him “Lord, Son of David” (22) a foreigner, recognizing He is God’s Messiah.  She is desperate, her “daughter is severely oppressed be a demon” (22).  She has faith that Jesus is the only one on earth who can help her.  And Jesus, ignores her.  He doesn’t say a word.  The disciples beg Jesus to send her away.   Jesus tells this pagan woman she has no standing as a child of Israel, and He will not heal her daughter.  She does not give up.  Kneeling before Jesus she begs, “Lord, help me” (25).  And Jesus responds, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.  She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table” (26-27).   

There is no way we can solve our problem or free ourselves from Satan’s grasp or stop his harassment.  Just as the devil tormented the Canaanite girl, he plagues me and you.  He gives us no rest.  Here we are, we are the same as that Canaanite woman, we are without standing, with no right to demand anything of Jesus.  Think how frustrating it is to ask the One who can help and not receive an answer.  Because of our sin, we deserve the same silence as that woman begging the Lord to help.  It is like the fire department sitting outside a burning home refusing to spray water on the fire.  There is no point begging someone who will not have mercy.  Yet, the Canaanite woman cries, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David” (22), she begs, “Lord, help me” (25).  She begs the right person to have mercy.  And He does. 

We also beg the Son of David to have mercy on us.  We are begging a Lord who not only can help but is inclined to use all His power and might to help us.  He is a God who hears when we cry “Lord, help me!” and He does!  We have a merciful God, a God of grace, whose greatest quality is love.  A God who proves He loves us so much, that He went to the cross, suffering the torments of hell we deserve.  Jesus, the Son of David died to take away the sin that make you and me so undeserving.  He took our punishment for the sin that makes us dogs, and turns us into a child of Abraham, and gives us the right to sit at the Master’s table to eat the bread and drink from the cup that proclaims the Lord’s death until He comes again to claim His own and separate the sheep from the dogs and give eternal life to all who believe He is the Son of God.  

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Cheyenne Wells, CO, 80810-0728

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