The Persistence of the Canaanite Mother
Mt 15: 21-28
By Rev. Dr. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.
August 17, 2014 (10th Sunday after Pentecost)
After astronomers calculated a probable orbit for this “suspected” heavenly body, Tombaugh took up the search in March 1929.
Time magazine recorded the investigation: He examined scores of telescopic photographs each showing tens of thousands of star images in pairs under the dual microscope. It often took three days to scan a single pair. It was exhausting, eye-cracking work–in his own words, “brutal, tediousness.” It went on for months. Star by star, he examined 20 million images.
Then on February 18, 1930, as he was blinking at a pair of photographs in the constellation Gemini, ‘I suddenly came upon the image of Pluto!”
It was the most dramatic astronomic discovery in nearly 100 years. (November 26, 1991).
Tombaugh was so persistent in his job, and he was successful. Probably this kind of persistence was with the mother in our passage, the Canaanite woman.
I. The Pleading of the Woman
The Canaanite mother pleaded for her daughter. A mother knows the feeling of having a child suffering from sickness or anything. A mother does not sleep well just to see and feel if her child is okay. There is a saying in the Philippines, “Ang mga anak ay di pinadadapuan ng lamok habang natutulog.” (The mother protects her children from mosquitoes while they are sleeping.)
How much more the situation of this woman in our passage. Her daughter was suffering from demon possession! She would do everything she could for her suffering daughter. Nobody could heal her, then, she heard about Jesus who was healing the sick, casting out demons, doing a lot of miracles, and many more.
The woman was having hope by just thinking that Jesus could make miracles for her suffering daughter. So when the opportunity came to meet Jesus, she pleaded to Him, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed!”
Even thought she was rejected by Jesus at first time due to His priority that day, she still plead him, “Lord, help me!” Again for the second time she was rejected, but she argued with Jesus showing her patience, persistence and ultimate hope. “Yes, Lord. But even the puppies eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ tables.” The pleading of the woman was coupled with persistence!
II. The Pastoral Mission of Jesus
Jesus’ words in this passage, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the nation of Israel,” mean two things: (1) that day his priority was “the lost sheep of Israel.” (2) Jesus said that to test the faith of that woman.
Some Bible interpreters believe that originally the mission of Jesus was for the house of Israel (see, Matthew 10:5-6). It was to realize the prophecy in the Old Testament (Exek.34:5-6, 16, read also Acts 3:25-26). Romans 15:8 says, “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.”
If he was only sent to the house of Israel, why he visited Tyre and Sidon (Phoenicia)? [It was named from its chief cities, and it was located north of upper Galilee], and it was inhabited by Gentiles. By mere visiting that place, Jesus opened his mission for the Gentiles.
Furthermore, probably Jesus tried to test the faith of that woman. And he found out that her faith is unshakable and with persistence.
III. The Prayer of the Woman is Granted
Jesus saw her faith and so he said to her, “Lady, your faith is great! What you want is granted.” Wonderful! The woman’s faith was tested and proven strong even in times of sufferings and trials.
Dr. Helen Roseveare, missionary to Zaire, told the following story.
A mother at our mission station died after giving birth to a premature baby. We tried to improvise an incubator to keep the infant alive, but the only hot water bottle we had was beyond repair. So we asked the children to pray for the baby and for her sister.
One of the girls responded. ‘Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won’t feel so lonely.’
That afternoon a large package arrived from England. The children watched eagerly as we opened it. Much to their surprise, under some clothing was a hot water bottle!
Immediately the girl who had prayed so earnestly started to dig deeper, exclaiming, ‘If God sent that, I’m sure He also sent a doll!’
And she was right! The heavenly Father knew in advance of that child’s sincere requests, and 5 months earlier God had led a ladies’ group to include both of those specific articles (sermonillustrations.com).
Got prayer requests? Nurture our faith in God! It will come.
(NOTE: Got seek among you? Call them to the altar, and pray over to them. If you got the chance kindly send me email how God used this message in your church, and how God healed the sick in your congregation. Who knows you might become a blessing and inspiration to others)