Great Is Thy Faith

Matthew 15:21-28 “Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”

Text Matthew 15:28 “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”

If we are not careful, we will miss the profundity of our Lord’s statement concerning this women’s faith. The magnitude of the statement can be seen when one contrasts the faith of the two parties that are present; a Canaanite woman, and His chosen disciples. Speaking of His disciples in the time of crisis; “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26). Yet, when speaking of the faith of a Gentile woman Jesus said, “O woman great is thy faith.”

When considering the responses of Jesus which one would you rather hear; “little” or “great.” The obvious answer is “great is thy faith.” In order to receive that kind of admonishment; one would have to a clear understanding of the elements of great faith! While there are probably more, I am confronted with three that are obvious.

There is a steadfast supplication; “and cried unto him . . . she crieth after us.” The text said that the woman “cried.” The word means to croak as a raven or to scream, to call aloud, shriek, exclaim or entreat. This would magnify the strength or sternness of her supplication. But, note that the practice did not stop. She began with the Lord and continued on with His disciples to the point that they wearied of her continual crying. Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). Bible students know that  words “seeketh” and “knocketh” have the thought of continuous action! This woman will not be denied, she is persistent in her quest in behalf of her “grievously vexed” child.

There is a subordinate state; “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs.” Having made her request, Jesus said, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” Within the text there are two elements that she makes no attempt to identify with. She makes no effort to identify with an heir: “children’s bread.” The word “children’s” has the idea of child produced from birth. She makes no effort identify with the home, “cast it to dogs. The word “dogs” means a puppy dog and is mostly a reference to the family pet. The woman does not see herself as an heir or a member of the home, but a mongrel dog of the streets! Her request is not that of merit, but mercy; she sees herself as unfit and unworthy!

There is a sufficient Sovereign; “eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” When she approached Christ, she knew that He was more than sufficient to meet any need! This truth is revealed in what she asked for; she did not ask for the loaf, or a portion of the loaf, but for a crumb. The word “bread” means bread as raised or a loaf. The word “crumbs” means, a little bit and comes from a word meaning to rub or touch the surface. If she could but rub or touch the surface of the Sovereign’s sufficient power, it would be more than enough to heal her daughter.

Great faith is exhibited when one takes a lowly position at the feet of a more that sufficient Sovereign and passionately cries until the answer comes.