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47: Jesus Reaches Out to a Gentile Woman Reaching Out

May 14, 2009

Major Text: Matthew 15:21-28

Harmony Texts:

Matt. 15:21-28      Mark 7:24-30

Outline:

  1. Jesus is Sought Out by a Gentile Woman Matt. 15:21-23
  2. Jesus Challenges the Woman’s Sincerity Matt. 15:24-27
  3. Jesus Commends the Woman’s Faith Matt. 15:28

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Jesus and His disciples have traveled from Galilee to the northwest along the Mediterranean Sea. Since He fed the 5000, Jesus’ ministry is changing from being a public ministry to being a private ministry to the disciples. He is focusing on building up the Twelve as He nears the end of His second year of ministry. He is in the town of Tyre, a port city which is predominately Gentile. One might speculate that He is there to get away from the crowds in Galilee and the continuous confrontation from the Pharisees. But He is known here too. Many visited Capernaum from Tyre and Sidon to hear Jesus speak [see Lesson 24]. So in one sense, this is a follow-up visit.

Upon reading this text, one thinks Jesus is being rude to the woman. Jesus’ ministry was predominately to the Jews but He did not turn away Gentiles. He just didn’t seek them out as He did the Jews. The Jews are being given an opportunity to reject Jesus before the Gentiles are given an opportunity to accept Him. The woman is telling Jesus that she understands His ministry is to the Jews first but there must be some “crumbs” left for her and that is enough to bring healing to her heart and to her daughter because He is Lord.

You will note that she calls Jesus the Son of David, a Messianic name. Then she follows up with “Lord”. Another way of looking at this text in outline form would be:

  • Jesus is recognized as God [she calls Him “Son of David”]
  • Jesus checks her vision [He delays answering and says He was sent to Israel]
  • Jesus checks her heart [She answers with “Lord”]
  • Jesus fulfills her vision [Her daughter is healed]
  • Jesus claims her heart [Jesus commends her faith]

We can make several other observations too:

  1. The woman’s faith was greater than that of the Jew’s.
  2. She recognized something that Israel didn’t; that Jesus is God and God is God of all.
  3. Outcasts are apt to be more receptive than those with knowledge. [humble vs. proud]
  4. The Jews demanded a sign; she demanded a gift from God’s Son.
  5. Persistence and perseverance are attributes appreciated by God.
  6. Never give up on God. He does not give up on you. It is we who give up on God.
  7. When God is silent, grow in your faith and don’t grouse.
  8. God uses the circumstances in your life to draw you closer to Him.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Jesus never refuses to talk to those who are sincere. [John 6:37]
  2. We are commended to place our children’s needs before the Lord.
  3. Humility/persistence/faith are the key ingredients for getting the Lord’s attention.
  4. Jesus is more interested in our hearts than in our afflictions.
  5. People are ready to receive Christ in the most unexpected places and circumstances.
  6. Jesus is never in a hurry to heal anyone. His message is always more important than His miracles
  7. God is continually reaching down to help those who are reaching out/up.
  8. The gospel message is not inclusive to a group. Jesus is the Savior of all men.
  9. The most unusual people are open to receive Christ i.e. disciples, Paul, Roman guards, Nicodemus, jailor, Lydia, ……and you…..and me.

Entreat the Lord

Show your Faith openly

  • To Jesus
  • To His followers
  • To those around us

Hear His Words of Encouragement

Rejoice and Praise Him for His Goodness.

Shalom

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