Mega Faith

Matthew 15:21-28 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

When I was starting out in ministry, I encountered a situation that very nearly nipped my faith in the bud before it could really blossom. A lady church member died, and left behind three little children. I went to the hospital and saw the children crying, begging God to bring their mother to life. It broke my heart and very innocently I led the people gathered there to pray to God to bring their mother back to life. And after several minutes of „storming the heavens,‟ she remained dead. It dealt a blow to my faith. I began to have doubts whether God really answered prayers. If that was true, if God is who he said He is, then the problem must have been with me. My faith was not strong enough. That‟s why I failed to make God make the miracles we wanted Him to do. What do you do when your prayers are not answered? When you do not see the fulfilment of what you‟ve always asked God to do? Salvation of your family, the bountiful provision for our family, healing of our loved ones, restoration of broken relationships, whatever the prayer request can be, what do we do if we‟ve been praying for a long time, and the answer does not seem to be coming. What kind of faith is necessary to see answers to our deepest prayers to God? Our topic for today is about mega-faith, just like the faith of the Canaanite woman in this passage. And to have Mega-Faith, there are three things you need to know:

This woman is Canaanite and not a Jew. But once something or someone precious to them is threatened and at the point where all human means of saving them have been exhausted. When Jesus started his ministry in Galilee however. Matthew 4:23-24 And he went throughout all Galilee. But not just any god. She grew up worshipping the god of the Canaanite people. You need to turn away from things that you rely on other than God 2. She did not start our worshipping the God of Israel. in what would be southern parts of Lebanon and Syria today. But when her daughter became demon-possessed she probably called on her people‟s gods for her daughter to be freed from the power of the demon. she had to abandon her old faith in what her gods can do. Most people never think about matters of faith when everything in life is OK. and began hoping for restoration for her daughter from Jesus. healing non-Jews was part of the ministry of Jesus. We find in the old testament that among the gods that people from Tyre worshipped was Baal. teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. those afflicted with various diseases and pains. people begin thinking about powers beyond what is human. epileptics. 23 Even from the very beginning. You need to know who you are praying to Turn Away from What You Rely On The setting of this particular scene is the district of Tyre and Sidon. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria. People begin thinking about God seriously. While Jesus and his disciples were there.1. we read about how the people of Syria heard about his ministry and his reputation for healing the sick and liberating people from the devil. And we surmise that they were all to no avail. So in her search to find restoration for her daughter in Jesus. I am sure this woman heard about that as well. People . and they brought him all the sick. and paralytics. there was a Canaanite woman who started crying out to Jesus. those oppressed by demons. You need to know who you are in God‟s sight 3. and he healed them.

Jesus clearly saw his ministry to be primarily to God‟s chosen people. and who claims sovereignty over all. right at the very place where Jesus was staying. when he said that he was sent only to Israel‟s lost a certain point stop playing around with gods of their own creation. to have a Canaanite woman call on you is a highly inappropriate situation to be in. Jesus was telling the truth. how seriously do you think about God? Do you think about Him everyday. But by the time of Jesus. the Jews simply didn‟t want anything to do with the non-Jews. but most scholars agree today that it is more about preventing the Jews from being tempted to worship foreign gods. They eventually have to confront the one true God who created heaven and earth. Then you have to turn to the one who truly has your life in His hands. If you were a Jew. the attitude towards women became such that Jewish men would never look at women directly. that attitudes towards two groups of people had become unreasonably restrictive. . And here was. she was not a priority. she is a person who is not in God‟s favour. So from a ministry perspective. and the second is towards women. the Jews. In short It appears that she did not deserve to be helped by Jesus. In the eyes of the Jews. There are also regulations about inappropriate behaviour between men and women. During the time of Jesus. There are regulations in the Torah regarding discouraging intermarriage with foreigners. or do you rarely think about him? Are there things in this life that you‟re relying on to keep life on an even keel? And a serious question we need to ask is. do you have to go through trials before we begin thinking about God seriously? If you want to have mega faith. but over time. you need to let go of all other things in this world that you rely on. Let us ask ourselves. The first is towards foreigners. Know Who You Are In God‟s Sight There are also things you need to be aware of about this scene in Matthew 15. At the same time. a Canaanite woman calling out to him. Her daughter did not deserve to be freed from the demonic oppression. The Jews have developed a sense of superiority over other peoples.

She knew her place. be because God is merciful. she persisted. Being a non-Jewish women. And so he made the way for men to be saved from their sin. if he chooses. But we did receive the grace of God. He does not have to. On our own. Son of David. He could. help the woman. in the form and timing that we expect it to come. He has freed demons from other people before. we can ask ourselves: do we.” This is a Messianic title. on our own. but God will surely answer. and it is by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin. This is the title of the promised anointed leader by God who will be the King of Israel who will lead the People of God to victory against its enemies (which in this particular case are the . So that even now that we have been accepted into the family of God. we beg for mercy. the bible clearly tells us that on our own. deserve to receive the mercy of God? Do we know our place? Truth to tell. seeking mercy for her daughter. But she was a woman desperate for her daughter. we do not deserve any help from God. and was calling him by the titles we know identified him. Afterall. unworthy to receive grace. It is clear that Jesus could help her.This partly explains why Jesus remained unresponsive to the cries of the woman. „Have mercy on me O Lord. If we know our place. And even if she knew she was not worthy of Jesus‟ help. we must always remember that we are merely given a wonderful privilege. We cannot make demands on God. If we will reflect on this. Therefore. God is not obligated to answer all our prayers. but humbly. We may not get the answer we want. God will answer our prayers. Know Who You Pray To Notice that the woman knew who Jesus was. Jesus never said no to the woman directly. But he chooses to. we are all sinners. She was willing to beg for mercy just to get the attention of the only person who could help her daughter. not because we are worthy. But Jesus‟ initial response to the woman after a long period of non-response was that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. So that those who humble themselves before God can look to Jesus in faith so that they may be saved. He has healed the sick among the people of Syria before. just as we are. and Jesus has promised us that whatever we ask in His name. she had no right to demand. whatever we asked for will be given us. and we humbly but persistently ask. Answers to our prayers therefore is not a right.

This are the Messianic expectations of Israel. She was speaking to him very personally. She‟s come to know him to be the only one who can save. but was even rejecting him. All she had was Jesus. Reverential. Mega Faith How about us? Do we know who we are asking when we pray? Or are we taking Jesus for granted? Do we know Jesus to be the Lord of all. That‟s why I think she was willing to persist in asking. where God will once more dwell with men in a restored temple. She knew her place. she was also engaging him in a dialogue. And interestingly we hear it not from a Jew. but from a Canaanite.‟ Or mega faith. She may have tried other ways and other gods. she was just a ‟little pet dog‟ in relation to the people of Israel. The Canaanite woman knew that Jesus was her only hope. will find answers to his prayers to God. But she‟s reached the end of her search. but she reasoned out with Jesus. She was not to be rebuffed easily. . Jesus had come to his own. and who will restore the Kingdom of Israel to its rightly place at the centre of the world. the one on whom all authority in heaven and on earth had been given? The one who had authority to say yes to all that we ask of him? Or are we considering other means of getting what we ask for? A truly seeking and persistent heart that recognizes that only Jesus can make a way for us. Jesus calls this „great faith. but his own did not receive him. as when she was responding to the statement of Jesus about bread being given to children and not to dogs.Romans). but very engaged personally. And it is quite ironic because a foreigner was more willing to recognize the Lordship of Jesus that the great majority of the people of Israel. She had nowhere else to turn to. That‟s what the Canaanite woman had. and that‟s the reason why Jesus rewarded her with her prayer being answered. Notice also that even as the Canaanite woman was speaking to Jesus reverentially. Story: Naomi Zacharias coming home… and her lost luggage.