A Gentile Woman with Great Faith (Part 2)
In our prior lesson, we were introduced to a Gentile woman who had a demon possessed daughter. She came to Jesus asking for help, but He ignored her. Her persistence and love for her daughter did not allow her to become discouraged, however. She continued crying out to Jesus for help.

"Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, 'Lord, help me!'" (Matt. 15:25). The wording implies that Jesus had left the house He had entered and was moving on, and that the woman forced Jesus to notice her by falling down at His feet (cf. Mark 7:25), thus blocking His path.

Jesus declared to her - "Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs" (Mark 7:27). Note the implication of the word "first." The Gentiles would be filled, but not before the Jews. Jesus does refer to Gentiles as "little dogs," but His intent was not to offend the woman or suggest that the Gentiles were inferior to the Jews. Truly, Gentiles were never inherently inferior in God's eyes, but they were subordinate in the context of God's plan at this time. That was the emphasis of Jesus' illustration.

Rather than becoming upset at what could have been regarded as an offensive statement, the woman used Jesus' illustration to plead her case - "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children's crumbs" (Mark 7:28). Jesus had stated that dogs were required to wait until the meal was over before eating what remained. However, the woman cleverly points out that dogs under the table are permitted to eat the crumbs while the meal is in progress! Thus, she hopes to receive a "crumb" from Jesus now. A mere crumb would be sufficient to heal her daughter! Hence, she implies that for Jesus to grant her request would take nothing away from the Jews or Jesus' abundant powers. No one misses a crumb, though it would be a priceless gift to her! Her response shows her wit and humility, and they are both admirable.

Her words also convey the depth of her faith, and Jesus acknowledged such - "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire" (Matt. 15:28). Jesus healed this woman's daughter because of the strength of her faith. I believe He had been testing her faith all along. The greatness of her faith is manifested in several ways: (1) She came to Jesus with her problem, obviously believing Him to be capable of solving it, (2) She persevered when her request seemed to be ignored, (3) She overcame the obstacle that He presented, and (4) She waited at His feet until He bestowed mercy. Faith such as this will always prevail (cf. Luke 18:1-8)! Do we take our problems to the Lord? Do we persevere in prayer when God doesn't seem to be answering us? Do we allow obstacles to hinder us and distract us from what is most important? Do we prostrate ourselves before the Lord and beg for His mercy? Those who are wise will learn many great lessons from this Gentile woman.

It is interesting to observe that the two times in which Jesus was recorded as commending a person with "great faith," He was speaking to Gentiles! (cf. Matt. 8:10; 15:28). On all of the occasions in which our Lord talked about "little faith," He was referring to the Jews (cf. Matt. 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; Luke 12:28). What kind of faith do you possess?