Friday, March 23, 2018

The Syrophoenician Woman

The woman we are talking about today doesn't have a name.  We are calling her the Syrophoenician Woman because she was from Syria.  Her story is shown for us in two places, Matthew and Mark.  We are going to look at both, because each book gives us specific information that is important to learning about the faith of this woman. 

Matthew 15:21-28 
Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon.  And a Canaanite woman from that region came out anbegan to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”  But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.”  But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”  And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”  But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once. 

Mark 7:24-30 
Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of ityet He could not escape notice.  But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet.  Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.  And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”  But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.”  And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”  And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left. 

"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." 

At the beginning of this story, we find Jesus in the heart of His ministry.  He was very well known, and He was wanting some time to Himself.  Of course, that is not what happened. 

The Syrophoenician woman was a Gentile from Syria.  She was not a Jew, but she called Jesus Lord, Son of David.  The history of the Canaanite people is given to us in the Old Testament.  They worshipped false gods from the very beginning of time.  They tempted the Israelites away from the One True God many, many times.  Yet, this Canaanite woman recognized that Jesus was the One True God.   

She was asking Jesus for mercy. Mercy is not getting something that you deserve to get.  Grace, on the other hand, is getting a gift that you do not deserve.  She was asking for the Lord to take away the demon that her daughter had.  She recognized that Jesus did not have to take away the demon, but she still asked for mercy.  When the woman asked for mercy, Jesus remained silent, but the disciples wanted her to be gone.  She was obviously being very loud. 

Jesus' mission was to the Jews.  He was sent by God to be the King of the Jews.  Yes, Jesus came to save the whole world.  Yes, I am a Gentile, saved by the grace of God.  But Jesus' ministry was to the Jews.  It was Paul's job to share the "mystery" of salvation to the Gentiles.  This is laid out for us to read and understand in Romans 1:16 and Ephesians 3:1-10.  Jesus' mission was clearly to the Jews. 

But, the Syrophoenician woman held her ground.  She stayed persistent.  She knew that Jesus could save her daughter. Her faith was tremendous. 

Matthew's verses 26 & 27 and Mark's verses 27 & 28 have an interesting exchange of words.  Read it through again.  

Now, read it through using the following words:  
  • children=Israel 
  • bread=salvation 
  • dogs=Gentiles 

The Syrophoenician woman's incredible faith in Jesus healed her daughter and saved her soul.  Just as the Syrophoenician woman did, I must have unwavering faith in God. I have never seen God, but I must still have faith in Him.  I know He works miracles, like healing us when we are sick.  I know He saves souls, as He has saved my soul. Do you have faith like the Syrophoenician woman? 

Psalm 125:1-2 
Those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever. 

"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." 

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