Everyday we all have problems and one of the things we want is for all our problems to just go away. Some problems were given to us by others and some problems we created on our own. Today we will see a story about how we can handle the problems that we face in life.
Read Matthew 15: 21-28
1) Your Faith
If we are honest we would all agree that we have family members that cause problems for us. Some by their own doing and others because of illness or problems they are facing. Because they are family we suffer along with them and this mother is seeking Jesus for her daughter.
This woman came from a pagan society that was known for worshiping many gods and after she realized that the gods she was told to worship were not coming through for her she went to find Jesus.
This woman came pleading to Jesus but not demanding. Too many in our culture want to tell God what He is going to do. God owes us nothing and there is nothing we can offer Him. All of us come to Him only by asking Him to have mercy on us.
Mercy is undeserved favor
She was not asking on the basis of her goodness but on Jesus goodness because she knew in and of herself she had nothing to offer Him. Her faith was not in her faith but in the person of Jesus Christ. People say to have faith but you have to have faith in an object or person. Our society makes faith the end all of all you need but faith without being placed into something or someone is useless. If I want to get across a canyon I will need a bridge or to fly. If I take the bridge then I am placing my faith in that bridge to hold me. I cannot stand on one side of the canyon and just have enough faith to be transported over to the other side. Faith has to be taken by placing its trust in something.
Faith does not give up
Jesus did not answer her a word yet that did not stop her from continuing to ask. Sometimes people cry out to Jesus but if they do not hear Him or if He does not answer right away they give up and turn from Him. This mom knew there was no help for her daughter from any other source and she was not going to stop asking.
The disciples were so annoyed with her asking repeatedly, they wanted Jesus to send her away. Jesus had already healed a lot of people who got what they wanted from Him and then left so Jesus test this woman with a statement that seems very cruel.
It is not good to take the Children’s bread and give it to dogs.
After Jesus silence would not work He then told her two things to test to see if she would continue to follow Him. The Children would have represented the Jews and the dogs would have represented the Gentiles. This woman knew what Jesus was saying to her and yet that did not deter her.
The Bread is God Himself
John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
Although Jesus said He was there for the Jews and that she was not deserving of what He had to offer, she did what all of us should do. She agreed that she was unworthy and even said she was a dog and was longing for the left overs of Jesus.
Your Faith is great
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Many of you have family members who are going through some things that you cannot help them with. Don’t stop praying, don’t give up. Keep begging and pleading with God on their behalf. Just like this woman pleaded with Jesus for her daughter you need to continue to plead with Jesus even when He is silent or seems to be turning you away.
Matthew 15: 29-39
2) His Compassion
I wander what this woman thought after her daughter was healed after her begging and others came and Jesus healed them. The scene was like an all day hospital with a full waiting room of a 100 people or so at a time around Jesus. These healing were not superficial healing but blindness and even limbs that were mangled or gone totally restored.
Some of the healing were to fix mistakes the individual had made and others were healed that were born that way. Jesus never healed based on what the person did or did not do, nor on if they were worthy of healing. These people were not holy people in fact archaeologist have discovered many ruins in that area that were made for the gods of Zeus, Athene, Artemis and Hercules. No matter what you have done in this life I can tell you that God has compassion for you. He literally hurts for you to come to Him for healing.
Compassion means to suffer along with and the only reason we have any favor with God is because of His compassion not our actions. The crowd was around Jesus for three days and if they did bring some food, it was running out to the point that Jesus was concerned they would not make it back.
They all ate till they were satisfied
God’s goal is not simply for you to have a better life on earth but eternal life through Him. The disciples once again knew that in an of themselves they could not meet the needs of the people, but had to rely on Jesus who has unending resources.
Jesus is the bread of life and He is the only thing that will bring you fulfillment not only in this life but the life to come. Too many people came that day and received a temporary fix for their immediate problems but missed out on their eternal fulfillment. Jesus was able to break the bread and fish to literally supply fulfillment for all who came to Him.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Death is the consequence of sin and so we are given a choice as to whose death we chose. We can choose our own death and live separated from God eternally, or we can choose the death of Christ whose death covers all our sins.
The problem is something that is too big for us to handle so Jesus had to handle it for us. Just like the woman who could do nothing else but beg for Jesus to heal her daughter, and just like the crowd who knew that Jesus was the only one who could fix the problem they were in, we have to go to Jesus for complete healing of our sin problem.
John 6:35 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
It is only as we accept the death of Christ that God will be satisfied with us and it is the only thing that will fill us up on this earth. This earth is full of people who are longing for something better only to be disappointed and discouraged when the things of life do not come through like they were promised. You have to give up all your resources and go to Him and beg for Him to change you then you will see the miracle of God doing amazing things in your life. If you think you can make it on your own then you will continue to use your resources even if they never work for you.
Acts 2:22-24 Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus,[d] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
Christianity does not celebrate self-discipline although that is good.
Christianity does not celebrate self-sacrifice although we are called to do that.
Christianity celebrates the Death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christianity is about a problem we could not solve on our own.
Have you given up trying all your ways yet to find healing or fulfillment in this life? If not then you will never submit yourself to Christ. It is not about trying Jesus but about trusting Him with your whole life in this life and the life to come.