A Mother’s Great Faith

Dustin Folden May 9, 2021 Matthew 15:21-28
Outline

3 qualities of great faith from a mother's example

I. Comes to Christ In Need

Matthew 15:21 - Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon.

A. Acknowledging your need for mercy (v.22)

Matthew 15:22 - And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”

B. Trusting the Lord with your greatest concerns (v.22)

Hebrews 4:14-16 - Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

II. Shows Persistence

A. Overcoming obstacles and disappointments (v.23, 26)

Matthew 10:5-8 - These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them, saying, “Do not go on a road to Gentiles, and do not enter a city of Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, cast out demons.”

Romans 1:16 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

B. Approaching God humbly, yet boldly (v.25, 27)

Hebrews 7:25 - Therefore He is also able to save forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Ephesians 3:6 - …to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel…

Hebrews 4:16 - Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

III. Receives Blessing from the Lord

Matthew 7:7-8 - Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 8:10 - Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.”

A. Becoming an example of faith to future generations (v.28a)

B. Impacting the lives of others (v.28b)

Think about a Woman who has had a great impact on your life…

On mothers day, in many cases it may you your mom that comes to mind first…but it could be a grandmother, a sister an aunt…a incredibly kind neighbor that became like family….a godly woman who impacted you.

God has used women and mothers, to represent his love and glory in countless ways through history as examples of great faith.

You have women of great faith like Sarah, Rahab, Ruth, Hannah, and of course Mary the mother of Jesus.

But there are mothers of great faith in more recent times, mothers like Susanna Wesley, whose two sons Charles and John who had a great ministry impact in our country in large part because of their mother.

Or Sarah Osborn, who was a mother, a wife, and schoolteacher. Sarah Osborn suffered many trials through her life… loss of her first husband at sea, the death of her only child, and chronic illness. Yet her faith in the goodness and mercy of Christ was great.

She would bring her needs regularly to Christ and writing nearly 2000 pages of diaries, memoirs and letters that survive today. Just reading the first paragraph of her memoirs you are impacted by this woman’s great recognition of her need and her gratitude for the grace of God.

God used her great faith to impact the lives of many. Between the winter of 1766-67 she was a leader in a religious revival that brought hundreds of people, including a large amount of slaves to her home each week. She became a prominent figure in the history of early American Evangelicalism that lasted for generations.

You see there is something incredibly powerful about a mother living out her faith…that not only impacts those right around her…but often impacts people for generations…

This morning we are going to look at another example in scripture of….

A Mother’s Great Faith

READ Matthew 15:21-28…that is on Page ____…..in the chair under the seat in front of you.

With our time remaining…lets look at

3 qualities of great faith from a mother's example.

21 Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon.

22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”

23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.”

24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

28 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.

This morning, we are going to grow in our faith in Christ as we see 3 qualities of great faith from a mother's example.

Great Faith….

I. Comes to Christ in need.

As a parent, you meet needs. Need-meeter is in your job description everyday.

Mom I need help with homework, Mom where are my shoes, mom where is the pencil sharpened. Mom I forgot my…fill in the blank….Mom I can’t find my….Mom...I am hungry….

Our children are so quick to turn to their parents as the source to meet their needs. But what happens when the problem is something to big for even mom to handle.

  • The concern is too great for the multi-tasking mom machine to administrate.
  • The issue is too hard that Mom can’t just use a juice box, granola bar or google to solve.

In this day and age, there is a great deal of pressure for Mom to do it all…be all things to all people all the time…to not be needy, but to have it all together…

  • that is not this mom,…and the reality is that no mom has it all together…a godly mother recognizes her deep need in the hard moments, and her ongoing need for the Lord Jesus Christ in the everyday moments.

This mom comes to Jesus with a recognition of need…

Sometimes the setting of a story is surprising and it’s prepping you to expect something amazing is about to happen.

  • This story about our Savior and a mother, begins with a startling detail the Messiah, the King of Israel is withdrawing to take refuge from danger in non-Jewish cities.
  • He is staying in Gentile territory. That would surprising for Jewish audience.

Matt 15:21 - “Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon.”

Jesus has withdrawn from the primarily Jewish areas and is now in Gentile Territory.

And then this mom, bursts onto the scene because she is needy and she seeks out Jesus.

She goes to the right place, the right person for help with her need.

…something to be thinking about as we consider this woman…Where is the first place you turn with your needs?

…who is your go to person?

There can often be a long list of things and people we have already gone to and tried before we say “I’ll try Jesus now”

… as if he is our last resort…he needs to be our first resort, our constant trust, and the one we go time and time again.

- We can be stubborn and independent can’t we?

- We forget our neediness for Christ?

- This mom challenges us to walk in a different way.

You see…The Lord is using a need so great that this mother can’t solve it…and that points everyone to the Savior the only one who can address every need.

Great faith that comes to Christ in need starts with…

A. Acknowledging your need for mercy (v.22)

For a Jew, the Canaanites were not viewed positively.

They were considered “unclean” and “the enemies” of Israel.

This mom doesn’t care about that…This enemy of Israel is so desperate, so needy she is convinced she must come to Israel’s King.

  • She comes acknowledging her need for mercy from Jesus.
  • She acknowledges Jesus is Lord from the royal family line of King David.

Matt 15:22 - “And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”

We now learn what her concern is and what would cause this mom to be so needy to cry out and come to Jesus like this…its about her daughter…she is cruelly demon-possessed.

This mother demonstrates great faith because she puts her hope and confidence in the Lord Jesus, the Son of David.

  • She sees that her daughter needs spiritual help and mercy that she cannot provide.
  • She needs the Lord to intervene.
  • She’s not thinking the primary issue is something needs to change in her parenting philosophy that’s going to fix these issues, but she is needy for the power and mercy of Christ.

When you come to Jesus acknowledging your need for mercy it also means that you are like this mother’s example…of…

B. Trusting the Lord with your greatest concerns (v.22)

It’s hard to think of something that makes your heart so burdened as a parent than to see your children in a state of suffering and being powerless to change it.

  • In fact…Many of the things we worry about and fear losing are some of the greatest blessings that the Lord gives such as family and loved ones.

When we fear losing someone we love, its easy for our godly love and concern to move to sinful worry and fear.

Imagine the concerns that this mother would have…

  • “Did I do something wrong?”
  • “How can I go on with my daughter like this?”
  • “What if I lose her”
  • “I can’t do this”, “This is too much for me”
  • “What will future be like for us and our family?”

Not only would there be the concerns about the wellbeing of your daughter. You can imagine that people would have taken notice of daughter who is cruelly demon-possessed.

  • It is tempting to be burdened and concerned by what people would say about you, your daughter, and your family.

I don’t imagine any parent here would want to be driving around town having the bumper sticker saying “Proud parent of a demon-possessed daughter.”

But whatever her greatest concerns are about her daughter they don’t draw her away from God, but they drive her to God.

How about you….Do you bring your greatest concerns to the Lord? Or do you go to your own mind and your own solutions as an empty well that can give you no hope….Or instead Are you crying out to the Lord saying…

  • - “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my son is wayward, we have tried our best, only you can bring him back.”
  • - “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David, my child is sick, we have sought out the doctors, and only you can heal him.”
  • - “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David, I am so easily tempted to respond sinfully to my spouse, only you can keep my way blameless.”

What are your greatest cares and concerns?….and Are you entrusting your greatest cares and concerns to Christ?

What motivates you to ask Christ for the mercy and grace you need like this woman? Like Hebrews 4:14-16 encourages us….

Hebrews 4:14-16 - “14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

You must recognize you are desperate for someone greater than yourself, someone better. And you believe that they will love and act for your good.

  • I can trust Christ with the concerns of my child’s wellbeing, because I know that he loves my child more than me.
  • That he created and formed my child and knit them together before I knew them.
  • That all their days are in his book.
  • That every hair on their head is counted.
  • Jesus keeps a record of my sorrows. He is well acquainted with grief and my concerns.
  • He has suffered himself and can sympathize with me.
  • He is merciful and powerful in ways beyond measure, and I can draw near to him with confidence that I may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

That great bold faith is exactly what this mother of faith models…

She comes to Jesus in a time of need, crying out to him that she may receive mercy

And her great faith….

II. Shows persistence.

The only way you can observe persistence is if things don’t work right away as you would like them to….there must be resistance to see persistence.

Jesus is setting up this interaction to reveal the great faith of this Gentile mother. Her persistent faith is put on display…

A. By overcoming obstacles and disappointments (v.23, 26)

  • 1.The first obstacle God wants us to consider is her ethnicity. She didn’t come from a Jewish home.
  • She was of a Syrophoenician ethnicity, more derogatory “a Canaanite.”

She didn’t allow her pagan background to prevent her from seeking an audience with Jesus Messiah, King of the Jews.

  • Great faith recognized Christ came to rescue sinners and is putting your hope in Christ and not your upbringing, where you are from.
  • It was a challenge for her to travel to seek and find Jesus…
  • Mark 7:24 adds the details that Jesus was seeking refuge in Tyre because he didn’t want anyone to know of where he was…
  • Jesus was intentionally trying to get away from the crowds, but he couldn’t escape some people’s notice, like this mother.
  • Look at verse 23“But He did not answer her a word.”
  • Can you imagine, you put in this effort, hearing all these wonderful things Jesus had done for others, you come and find out where Jesus is, knowing your approaching this man whose mercy is like no other…and you come pleading him and his response is silence.
  • It would be easy to be disappointed.

- We know what that response is like when we pray…silence….

- nothing seems to happen at first…nothing seems to change.

- It seems like your request fell on deaf ears

It is easy to say …Jesus are you listening…did you hear what I said…I need your mercy, only you Lord can do this and heal…

  • I don’t get an immediate response, and so I have to exercise faith and trust the character of God, and His timing and His plan.

With this woman the hurdles and obstacles seem to get bigger, the silence is broken and His disciples come to Jesus and implore Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.”

You have to decide how to interpret the disciples’ comments.

  • OPTION 1: Are they saying, “Send her away (without healing her daughter, essentially, ignore her request, and send her away because she keeps shouting at us.)
  • OPTION 2: “Send her away, answer her request and give her want she is asking, and send her on her way, because she keeps shouting at us).
  • We don’t know exactly how the disciples were suggesting they send her away, but they did not want her to keep shouting at them, and they wanted her gone.
  • This reveals that the disciples, well they need more “disciplining”…they need to keep growing in having a heart like the Messiah they were following.
  • But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

- Jesus intentionally emphasizes another hurdle for this Gentile woman…she is not of the house if Israel.

4. The obstacle is that the plan and program of God gives priority to the Jews first.

  • The good news of Christ comes from Jewish roots as God made his covenants to the Jewish forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that the mission of Christ comes to the Jews first then through Jesus, who is the Messiah, blessing will come to the Gentiles (non-Jews), because salvation is from the Jews as promised.

For example, earlier in Matthew when Jesus sends out his disciples with authority to heal and to preach about the good news of the kingdom of God offered in Christ. We read….

Matthew 10:5-8 - “These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them, saying, “Do not go on a road to Gentiles, and do not enter a city of Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, cast out demons.”

As the apostle Paul, an apostle to the Gentile world would also say in Romans…

Romans 1:16 - “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

So Jesus, brings up the priority of the purposes and plans of God to bring salvation to the Jews, and its an obstacle Jesus knows she will pass because of her faith.

Jesus’s statement then draws out her heart and response to teach his disciples and us today.

The mother’s faith is not deterred when she hears Jesus say, “only the lost house of Israel”

The mother persists despite the ethnicity obstacle, and disappointing silence, and the hurdle of Jesus’s priority to the Jews.

Let me pause and ask you…Are you persisting in seeking Christ by faith?

  • Don’t let your upbringing or past be the barrier that you will use as an excuse for not continuing to persist in seeking Christ to help you through the concerns you are facing.
  • Don’t stop reading the bible because you don’t feel anything…rather focus on seeking to learn about Christ and marvel at Who He is and what He has done when you read His word…persist in it.
  • Don’t let unanswered questions and your perceived silence from God be the reason that you give up praying your greatest concerns but rather trust Jesus to answer in his time.

I want to implore everyone here today….persist in seeking Christ with your concerns no matter what…no matter the obstacles. Because He is the only place you can truly go for your concerns.

Now this mother persists by…

B. Approaching God humbly, yet boldly (v.25, 27)

v.25 - “But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

Notice, the humility, bowing down before him, entreating Lord Jesus for help and mercy, showing her reverence for Jesus.

  • She boldly and humbly brings her need again.

Then Jesus gives one more test to this mother, “26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

  • Jesus is saying that in your house priority goes first to your children, they are dependent on you, and it morally right to care for them first, then to care for your household pet dog.
  • You don’t feed your dog first and neglect feeding your children?

And the mother’s response is amazing, and what Jesus has been building through all of this interaction for us to see her faith and what she believes about Jesus.

  • What is amazing is that She humbly agrees with Jesus’s mission and purpose for the Jews, but then using the same analogy with Jesus makes her point.
  • 27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

She doesn’t take offense at this analogy…she builds on it…Yes, Jesus you are right, the children should get fed first, in other words, the Jews are first in your plan, salvation is from the Jews,

  • But if your analogy holds…if I am the dog in this illustration. It means I am in the house… I am part of your household too, which means, I get the scraps…

Her faith is great…no because of who she is…but because of how she views Jesus…what He provides even through crumbs…

It is like saying…I just need the crumbs Jesus because they are from you…. I believe you are so sufficient it will be enough, even the scraps. Lord that’s all I am asking for from you.

  • That is how she views Jesus and that is why her faith is great…I just need the crumbs because of who you are…

Why would the crumbs, the leftovers, the residual be sufficient from our Master Jesus…because of truths like Hebrews 7:25

Hebrews 7:25 - “Therefore He is also able to save forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

This non-Jewish, Gentile mother, understands that Jesus coming to Tyre and Sidon and doing miracles, and teaching and preaching means, that she is included in some part of Jesus’s mission and ministry.

  • Even if the priority goes to the Jews, that whatever Jesus chooses to leave remaining for her will be more than enough.

Now, my friends…think about this has Jesus left us (non-Jews) with just the crumbs, leftovers.

Jesus our Messiah came to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. For all without distinction, Jew and non-Jew can be forgiven of their sins, declared righteous by God, and restored to a right relationship with God by faith in Jesus alone.

So even Gentiles like this mother, and myself are given the same rights and privileges as family members and children of God, children of faith, who get to become sharers of the promise in Christ.

Ephesians 3:6 - “to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,”

So we are not dogs…we are heirs of the promise…

…but, the persistence of this woman bringing her requests humbly and boldly, should encourage us to come boldly and confidently regularly to our savior with our concerns, knowing that if we have trusted personally in Jesus and turned away from our sin that we are children of God.

  • He commands us to come to Him

Don’t be too proud to come…come to Him with confidence.

Hebrews 4:16 - “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

You may be listening to this today and don’t see persistence to seek out Christ in your life with your concerns. It might be because Jesus is using this passage to show you that you don’t have faith like this woman. You don’t trust him and consider him as your Lord.

  • You turn to everything and everyone else before Jesus, because Jesus is not the Lord, and center of your life.
  • Jesus commands you to return to him and believe in him.

III. Receives blessing from the Lord.

This mother embodies the example that Jesus teaches…She asks, she seeks, she knocks. And because of her faith in Christ…She receives, she finds, and she has the door opened for her by Jesus.

Matthew 7:7-8 - “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Jesus commends this mother and says, 28 … “O woman, your faith is great.”

Matthew mentions the faith of several people groups.

  • There is the non-faith of the Jewish people who don’t believe…(Matt. 13:58)
  • There is the little faith of Peter and the disciples…(Matt. 14:31)
  • The faith of those who are healed, believe, and are saved. (Matt 9:2; 21:21-22)
  • Then there are two examples of great faith in the gospel of Matthew and both involve Gentiles. This woman and the centurion in Matthew 8:10 where we read…

Matthew 8:10 - “Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.”

We see the centurion and the Canaanite woman, and Jesus commending them…I don’t think it is indicating that they are better than anyone else, but they view Jesus most accurately through the eyes of Faith in who He is and what He can do….

  • Their Faith is great, because the Object of their faith is Jesus, and they recognize they need Him, they are persistent in going to Him, and as a result they display Great Faith…. And they receives blessing by being commended by Jesus and by…

A. Becoming an example of faith to future generations (v.28a)

Part of the blessing is how their testimony impact other people….most notably the disciples who want her sent away, get to see an example of great faith commended by Jesus.

The disciples such as Peter to this point have been described as having “little faith” and lacking understanding. But not this mother.

There is a discipleship lesson that Jesus wants to use to impact all of our faith through this mother’s example.

Consider that Jesus wanted this interaction of this mother included for strengthening the faith of every disciple of Christ through the generations. Her faith served as encouragement to generations of disciples.

  • There are women of faith that we could point to in our own lives couldn’t we?
  • For many our mothers who brought us to church….taught us the Scriptures…imitated the love of God to us in their care, support, and encouragement.
  • Mothers who went regularly before God’s throne of grace persistently begging the Lord for our salvation, our provision, our protection, and growth.
  • For me, My Mom and My Aunt Melanie had a huge impact on me…My Aunt Shared the gospel repeatedly with my mom until she trusted Christ and my mom directed me to the word of God and to Jesus repeatedly until I trusted Christ.
  • Janet Aucoin and Jocelyn Wallace have poured into my family over the years and have impacted us greatly, and there are so many other godly women in our church
  • Do you remember watching that Serve21 video with our sisters Kathy Tolbert and Rita Jamison?
  • o Did you know that Rita will have served 50 years in children’s ministry this year?
  • o think about all the young people she has impacted, and all of us who have a better picture of what faithfulness, and faith lived out looks like….
  • Would Jesus say the same about your great faith? Are you living in such a way that future generations would consider you and example of faithfulness?
  • That saw by your example neediness for Christ and persistence and the blessing that comes.

B. Impacting the lives of others (v.28b)

Don’t forget why she came to Jesus in the first place…on behalf of someone else…her daughter who was demon possessed…By her request, her daughter was healed, was blessed.

Jesus grants the request of this mother of faith. Jesus shows us he is Lord over sickness and spiritual forces of darkness, and heals her daughter from a distance!

From a distance…he doesn’t need to touch her, he doesn’t need to visit. He just does it immediately. Just like he healed from a distance for the Gentile centurion who had great faith.

This woman’s faith is not just a blessing to her own life, it directly impacted the wellbeing of her daughter.

Your faith directly impacts the lives of those around you.

So in conclusion what does Great faith look like to instruct not just mothers, but all of us…Great faith…

1. Comes to Christ in need

2. Shows persistence

3. Receives blessing from the Lord, becoming an example and impacting lives for generations to come.

Authors

Dustin Folden

Roles

Pastor of Discipleship & Extension Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.