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Ministry of Jesus

Faith of the Canaanite Woman

Scripture

Matthew 15:21-28
Mark 7:24-30

Commentary

A Canaanite woman seeks out Jesus because her daughter is demon possessed.  The woman is insistent that Jesus help her and the disciples urge Him to send her away.

Jesus' response that He was sent for the lost sheep of Israel is both true and a test.  Jesus' ministry was to the Israelites.  It wouldn't be until Peter visits Cornelius' house that the gospel is opened to the Gentiles.  Nevertheless, Jesus does encounter some non-Israelites. 

The test is to see how much the woman believed in Jesus and if she would be persistent in her belief even when Jesus tried to discourage her.  Jesus does not call the woman a dog but rather reflects the attitude that Jews have toward the Gentiles.  The Canaanite woman knows what the Jews think of her but continues to plead on the basis that even dogs are given leftover scraps.  She is not asking for much of Jesus, only a small request.  Jesus heals the woman's daughter on the basis of her faith and persistence. 

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