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Faithlife

Matthew 15:21-28 Faith: Not Shaken but Solid

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Faith: Not Shaken but Solid

I. Problems in the land of Gentiles (15:21-23)

(21) arrival to another area

* Some specifics about Sidon and Tyre from the Anchor Bible Dictionary: “SIDON A city of ancient Phoenicia. …. was never part of the territory of ancient Israel (). The city served as a fixed point with respect to which the territory of Canaan could be reckoned. The books of the major prophets include denunciations of Sidon in their respective oracles against foreign nations.”

* “Tyre played a significant role in the political and economic history of Greco-Roman Palestine. During the Ptolemaic period (305 – 30 BC), slaves bought in Palestine were sold in Tyre in what was a highly profitable business.”

- Why did Jesus travel this far to where a group of people aren’t really looking for a messiah?
* On the one hand, Jesus was going somewhere to regroup with His disciples where He wasn’t likely to be bothered by the Pharisees or Sadducees.
* On the one hand, Jesus was going somewhere to regroup with His disciples where He wasn’t likely to be bothered by the Pharisees or Sadducees.
* On the other, Jesus’ travel to this area reminds us of an account by Elijah into this area back in .But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.” * God has another similar but different lesson.

(22) A Desperate appeal

* William Barclay notes “Not only was she a Gentile; she belonged to the old Canaanite stock, and the Canaanites were the ancestral enemies of the Jews. Even at that very time, or not much later, Josephus could write: ‘Of the Phoenicians, the Tyrians have the most ill-feeling towards us.’”

* God has another similar but different lesson.

* She calls out to Jesus as the Son of David. This points out her belief that he is the promised Messiah from the covenant with David. (her level of Jewish faith for a Gentile is interesting)

- She is wanting help for her demon possessed daughter. * The verb “cries” is in the imperfect tense emphasizing the constant nature of her cries. * She tells Jesus about her daughter being demon possessed with the expectation that He can cast out the demon.

* The verb “cries” is in the imperfect tense emphasizing the constant nature of her cries. * She tells Jesus about her daughter being demon possessed with the expectation that He can cast out the demon.

(23) Jesus doesn’t respond at first

* She tells Jesus about her daughter being demon possessed with the expectation that He can cast out the demon.

* There is some conjecture by some so-called scholars that the silence was because Jesus was wrestling with how to respond to her. * On account of his response in the next verse, I know that isn’t the case but there is a greater purpose. In fact, it is obvious about what Jesus wanted to occur by allowing things to continue to play out.

* On account of his response in the next verse, I know that isn’t the case but there is a greater purpose. In fact, it is obvious about what Jesus wanted to occur by allowing things to continue to play out.

- The disciples are now taking up the mantle for Jesus to help. * This went from a “Jesus” problem to an “us” problem because the disciples didn’t like what was happening.

* This went from a “Jesus” problem to an “us” problem because the disciples didn’t like what was happening.

II. An Unwavering Faith (15:24-28)

(24) Jesus finally responds

- Jesus talks about His mission to fulfill God’s searching the lost sheep of Israel. * His mission was to Israel as He was the fulfillment of being the Jewish messiah in the line of David.

* His mission was to Israel as He was the fulfillment of being the Jewish messiah in the line of David.

* This is consistent with the words Jesus used in sending the disciples out on a short term mission in “These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”

(25) The woman’s response

* Her continual bowing, not just a quick curtsy, was displaying her posture of heart in being humble and submissive to Jesus. Out of that posture and attitude she asks for ‘help’.

(26) The confusing metaphor by Jesus

- Identifying the terms in the metaphor. * The “children” is a term that is used in the OT to speak of Israel. * Bread is speaking of the spiritual blessing that comes from God. * Dogs is a term that was used to commonly refer to Gentiles. (often derogatory)

- What does this metaphor mean?

* The “children” is a term that is used in the OT to speak of Israel.

* Bread is speaking of the spiritual blessing that comes from God.

* Clearly, you wouldn’t take food that is meant for children and just give it to the dogs. Yet, we understand that the dogs were part of the household and didn’t starve. * Here the emphasis is that Gentiles didn’t have the same privileged position that the Jews held. (i.e. they didn’t get the same priority of blessing that was given to the Jews whom were the called out ones)

* Here the emphasis is that Gentiles didn’t have the same privileged position that the Jews held. (i.e. they didn’t get the same priority of blessing that was given to the Jews whom were the called out ones)

* Dogs is a term that was used to commonly refer to Gentiles. (often derogatory)

(27) Her response

- She doesn’t respond in argument but in agreement with the truth and extrapolating it out.

* A key word to note is this little Greek word Ναί which is translated “yes” in most translations. However, we often look at “yes/but” statements as not affirming but correcting a statement. * BAGD Greek lexicon says “that Ναί denotes affirmation, agreement or emphasis. Especially in declarations of agreement to the statements of others.”

* BAGD Greek lexicon says “that Ναί denotes affirmation, agreement or emphasis. Especially in declarations of agreement to the statements of others.”

* In the metaphor she acknowledges that dogs don’t get a seat at the table but they will eat something because food will fall under the table where the children sit.

* If the bread represents God’s blessing, then she understands that she can feed off of God’s blessing even if it isn’t in a privileged position. * She isn’t just stating the truth from the parable but also is expressing desire to share in that blessing!

right after the Lord’s prayer “Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
* She isn’t just stating the truth from the parable but also is expressing desire to share in that blessing!

(28) Jesus commends her faith

* As Dr. Tom Constable points out: “The woman's "faith" was "great" because it revealed humble submission to God's will, and it expressed confidence in His Messiah to do what only God could do.”

- In response to that faith, Jesus heals her daughter.

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