Matthew 15:21-39: Great Faith
February 13, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
By contrast with the Pharisaic refusal to accept Jesus or listen to God’s Word, but rather instead trump God’s Word by means of their own human traditions—by contrast with this approach to Jesus, and God, we come across now the faith of a Canaanite woman. No greater shock could there be to hear what Jesus said in verse 28 of this woman: “Great is your faith.” But she is asking Jesus to have mercy on her (15:22). She recognizes his Messianic identity (“Son of David”). Jesus appears to put her off—“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (15:24). But she persists. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table” (15:27). Later in Matthew chapter 28, we know that Jesus’ mission extends to all nations, but at this stage he was primarily focused on the lost sheep of Israel. Still her faith demands a response; such is her faith, great faith. Let us not be surprised to find great faith among those that we least expect to discover it.
Jesus then heals many (15:29-31), and they glorify the God of Israel for these miraculous healings. And then he does another astonishing miracle, this time feeding the four thousand (15:32-39). But look at how the Canaanite woman puts them all in the shade by her response! She is the one of great faith, even if she is only receiving the scraps from off the table. May we be like her—in prayer, seeking God for answers, and asking him to have mercy on us. In faith, asking God for his salvation. In action, as we take God’s Word in both hands and live lives based upon his promises.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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