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.Matthew 15:28(NASB)
In Matthew 15, Jesus had already been accused of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, His Messianic claims had already been rejected by Israel's religious leaders, and He had already started to teach in parables - to all who had ears to hear.
Jesus knew His mission was to call His people to repent of their sin and to deliver the message of salvation to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He had come with healing on His wings to save His people from their sin. He came to present Himself as Israel's Messiah-King and to offer them the promised kingdom that had been prophesied of old. And Jesus also came to earth as Saviour of the world - Jew and Gentile alike.
Throughout His ministry we see many Gentiles putting their trust in Jesus and in this passage we rejoice to find a Canaanite woman, from the region of Tyre and Sidon, being saved by grace and having her demon-possessed daughter restored to full health and a sound mind. This distraught woman was brought into a deeper knowledge and understanding of Who Jesus was, when she cried out to Him as He walked along the dusty road, that day.
Following His rejection by the Scribes and Pharisees, Jesus took His disciples away from the land of Israel and withdrew to Tyre and Sidon. While journeying along the road, this Canaanite lady recognised the famous 'Jewish Rabbi', and began imploring Him to heal her daughter. "Have mercy on me Lord, Son of David," she wept. "Son of David, my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed."
Only Israel had the right to address Jesus as 'Son of David', for Jesus was the Son of Abraham Who had been sent by His Father to His covenant nation. Jesus had been sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel - and this woman was not a Jew. It was to Israel that the Messiah was sent and it was to Israel that the adoption as sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the temple service, and the promises belonged.
Jesus, Who was sent to bring salvation to Israel, was from the tribe of Judah - of the house and lineage of David. He was the Jewish Messiah and King of Israel. He was the Lord Jesus Christ Who had come to save His people from their sin. He came as the promised Seed of Abraham, through Whom all the families of the earth would be blessed - for it was through God's chosen people that salvation was to come to all men.
This daughter of the Gentiles had to gain some dispensational understanding before Jesus could help her... for salvation is from the Jew. Jesus tested her heart by reminding her that food for the children - (Israel), should not be thrown to the little puppy dogs - (Gentiles).
To fulfil Scripture, Christ HAD to offer salvation to Israel first, "I come ONLY to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Israel had been given the responsibility to be a light to the Gentiles. Israel was to tell the nations about God's goodness and teach the good news of the kingdom. Their rejection of their Messiah resulted in the Church dispensation and the age of grace, but Israel will fulfil its mission - in the future.
The reply this Canaanite woman received, revealed her trusting heart to Jesus... for she pointed out little puppies-dogs are allowed to partake of the crumbs that fall from the master's table. Jesus may be Israel's Messiah, but Gentiles can still receive from Him. Gentiles can still feed on the Bread of Life. The woman's reply greatly blessed the Lord Jesus, for it demonstrated a faith that was rare - even among His own Jewish nation. "O woman," he replied, "great is your faith. It shall be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed at once.
Christ's disciples were also being brought to an understanding that God's redemption was open to Gentiles as well as Jews. God's offer of salvation had to come THROUGH the Jewish Messiah first, but feeding on the Bread of Life from heaven is open to ALL. Salvation must come through faith in Jesus Christ... the only begotten Son of the Father and prophesied Messiah of Israel. Jesus was teaching the important lesson that there is no other name given among men, whereby we must be saved - the lovely name of JESUS.
This Gentile woman may have addressed Jesus incorrectly at the beginning, when she appealed to Him by His Messianic title, 'Son of David', but she acknowledged Him as her LORD, and so her faith was credited as righteousness. And because of her faith, her demon-possessed daughter was also made whole.
God's blessings may come through Israel but the lesson we all have to learn is that it is only by faith in Christ that we are redeemed by God and declared righteous... for salvation is by grace through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord and Israel's Messiah.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the encouraging story of the Canaanite woman whose faith in You has helped to teach generations of Christians that it is not by becoming a Jew that we are saved - but by faith in Christ. Thank You that You sent Your only begotten Son to be born as the Jewish Messiah and Saviour of the world... and that by faith in Him we have the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. Continue to open my eyes to behold wonderful things in Your Word, and guide me into all truth. This I pray in Jesus' name, AMEN.