The Rev. Aaron E. Lavender, Grace Baptist Church: The text in Matthew 15:21-28 reveals the story of a gentile woman from Canaan who came to Jesus Christ and pleaded with him to have mercy on her and her demon-possessed daughter.
To see that her need was met and her daughter was healed, this woman’s faith had to overcome many obstacles. It seemed that she met resistance to her request at every turn. Yet she persisted until she achieved her goal. Three obstacles had to be overcome:
▪ Her faith had to overcome racism (verses 21, 23). The woman was a gentile from Canaan, a member of a doomed race. In addition, even Jesus’ disciples reacted by telling him to send her away.
▪ Her faith had to overcome religion (verses 22-23). She was a gentile mother calling out to Jesus, the Messiah. She had no right to come to Jesus through the door of Judaism.
▪ Her faith had to overcome reality (verse 22). The realities of this situation are harsh! The woman’s daughter was possessed by a demon, she was a member of a doomed race, and the religious people around her could not care less about her.
The Canaanite woman’s faith persisted in spite of everything that was thrown at her, and Jesus Christ rewarded her for it. He states that her faith was great and that her daughter was healed.
The Rev. Kevin Vogts, Trinity Lutheran Church, Paola, Kan.: Luke reports two parables Jesus told about being persistent in prayer, “The Friend at Midnight” and “The Unjust Judge.” In addition to these parables Jesus told about persistent prayer, the Canaanite woman is a “living parable” of persistent prayer, from whom we learn five things:
▪ Pray with humility, as she humbly acknowledges she is not one of the chosen people of Israel.
▪ Pray with faith, like her beautiful profession of faith in Jesus expressed in her cries for help: “Lord, son of David, have mercy on me! Lord, help me!”
▪ Pray with confidence, as Jesus commends her, “Woman, you have great faith!”
▪ Pray for others, especially your children, as she did to relieve her daughter’s suffering.
▪ Pray persistently, as 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”
But why the need for persistent prayer? Surely God knows what I want.
I once asked a man, “When was the last time you told your wife you love her?”
“Well, she knows how I feel,” he replied. “I don’t have to say it.”
Yes, your spouse knows that you love him or her, but to keep your marriage strong he or she needs to hear it from you.
And, yes, the Lord already knows what you want and need, how you feel. But he wants to hear it from you, not for his sake but for your sake, to help keep your faith relationship with him strong.
That is the point of the parables Jesus told about persistent prayer and the Canaanite woman, a “living parable” of persistent prayer.
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