And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.

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1 JESUS Every Mom s Hero Matthew 15:21-28 Those who have been here for a while know that I don t usually make it a point to teach topically on Mother s Day or Father s Day. Though I rarely teach specifically about the subject of being a mom or being a dad on those days, I do always ask the Lord whether I should or shouldn t. This year He said I should. And as I thought about where to speak from I kept coming back to the story of one specific mom and how Jesus went out of the way to literally walk into her story to meet her and rescue her daughter. And in it all she recognizes Jesus as the true King who becomes her amazing, compassionate, and powerful hero! Matthew 15:21-28 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon. 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, Send her away, for she is crying out after us. 24 He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 And he answered, It is not right to take the children s bread and throw it to the dogs. 27 She said, Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters table. 28 Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire. And her daughter was healed instantly. 21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. This is such an amazing journey on so many levels. First the crucifixion of Jesus is less than a year away. There was still so much for Jesus was going to do before that He would die in our place for our sins. The disciples had zero idea of how the cross was beginning to loom larger on the horizon but even if they knew how little time was left on the clock they would have never thought that Jesus would make THIS journey! I wonder what was going through their minds when it became clear that Jesus was actually leading them beyond the borders of Israel and into Tyre and Sidon (Lebanon of today) a region populated with non-jewish 1

2 people (gentiles). A COUPLE OF THINGS FOR US TO NOTE HERE FIRST Jesus is God who came into human flesh. Jesus is God on mission in a fallen world. He came into culture specifically the culture of 1 st century Israel. The orthodox Jews believed that the non-jewish world was generally outside of the reach of God s love. But the God of Israel has come into human flesh and we see Him leaving the borders of Israel crossing over borders to express His redeeming love to someone considered to be outside of the sphere of God s love. HERE S THE PICTURE God wants us to think outside of the boundaries and borders of our world our worldview and our comfort! God wants to send you and me; place you and me; in places that we never thought of so that we might reach people who need Jesus people we might even think are beyond the reach of God s love. Aren t you glad that Jesus crosses over borders? Aren t you glad that Jesus isn t limited to just one kind of person or one group of people? I wouldn t be here today if Jesus limited His saving grace only to the moral churchgoer! Jesus is STILL into crossing borders. Christians are those who follow Jesus in this world, on His mission! Let s follow Him there to see what borders of personal comfort he might want us to cross; what social/economic borders He might want us to cross; what cultural borders he might want us to cross. In the geographical world you need passports and sometimes visas to cross borders into other countries. In a manner of speaking people are checking your passports to see if you have the right to step into their world; their culture. As we look at the life of Jesus we see that He stepped into any and every part of culture. He built friendships with lost men and women. He ate food with them. He loved on fallen man. He spoke truth to fallen man. He served fallen man. Then He sacrificially laid down His life for their redemption. Your passport, your visa, into culture is a life that looks like Jesus. Build friendships with lost men and women. Eat food with them. Love on them. They are living in a world where people love things and use people to get them. You earn the right to speak into their lives when they see that you love people and use things to express it! Speak the truth to them. Serve them. 2

3 And though we could never be the redeeming sacrifice for their sins we can live sacrificially, and love sacrificially so they can come to know the One gave Himself to redeem them. Lastly, let s follow Jesus to see what geographical borders He would have us cross. NOW WE COME TO THE MOTHER 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon. Mark s account gives us an important bit of information. Mark 7:24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. From other accounts we know that Jesus could be hidden. John 8:59 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. BUT - On this day He would not hide Himself. Why? There was a mom in agony and in need; a mom who was exercising genuine faith in Jesus. To such hearts Jesus will not and can not be hidden! DON T MISS THIS (especially moms who can identify with this mom who is desperate in the face of her child s condition). Jesus will hide Himself from Intellectual Pride and Opposition. But He will never hide himself from a broken needy believing heart! Mark 7:25 tells us WHY she came to Jesus. He says that she had heard of him. HERE S THE LESSON TELL people about Jesus. Though they might not respond on first hearing of Him, WHEN they are BROKEN and NEEDY they will KNOW where to run because with your words and your life you have been pointing them to Jesus! This mom was desperate. Now she s heard that He s crossed the border and the fact that Jesus would cross the border into her gentile world 3

4 made her think, Surely He must be gracious to come into Gentile territory." HERE S THE PICTURE We have met THIS JESUS! Jesus crossed into the boarders of our little kingdoms of one! We have been recipients of HIS GRACE! As we live every day as those who have received His grace that desperate mom (or dad or child or co-worker or classmate) will think Surely He must be gracious because He crossed the border and stepped into the life of this person who now has crossed the border into my life. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon. Matthew who is writing to a Jewish audience gives us an interesting detail. This gentile woman said, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David. This gentile woman recognized that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel! I believe that Matthew records this as a deliberate jab at the religious establishment of Israel! Matthew was a Levite. He was burned out on the hypocrisy of the religious system; so burned out that he opted out of his privilege of entering the priesthood of Israel and chose the despised profession of tax collector in Israel. Matthew makes it a point to record this event to point out how spiritually blind the leaders of organized religion in Israel were. In essence he is saying You know, you guys are supposed to be the spiritually elite in Israel but here is this Gentile woman and she knows something about Jesus that you DON T know and you REFUSE to know. This woman is not only a Gentile but she s living in the area of Syria, no less (the long time nemesis of Israel); yet she recognizes what you and the most religious people in Israel haven t that Jesus is the Messiah. Paul Trip and I were having a conversation about places like Brooklyn and Philadelphia and he said that unbelievers are very distrustful of organized religion. They are looking for something genuine and personal and though they won t acknowledge organized religion they recognize Jesus when the most churched person can t. I ve seen that to be true time and again. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon. 4

5 WE MUST BEAR IN MIND the moral/spiritual climate that Jesus walked into and this woman lived in. The Syro-Phoenicians were involved in idolatry. Idolatry that was not only demonic but almost always involved gross sexually immorality. The Satanic forces behind this mom s idolatry no doubt placed her young daughter in the position of being so horribly oppressed by demons. DON T MISS THIS MOMS God often uses GREAT NEED to drive us to Jesus. In speaking of her daughter she uses the term - my little daughter. I still think of my married 32 year old daughter as my little girl. There is such TENDERNESS here such PATHOS. This mom is begging Jesus. The original language tells us she was incessantly begging Jesus which makes the response of Jesus STRIKING! A BIT OF A PRE-QUEL here His 1st response was no response! Here s the Living Word of God, not answering a word! His 2nd Response still was not directed to her. It was directed to His Disciples! It isn t until His 3rd response that He finally speaks to her but it sounds demeaning! 23 But he did not answer her a word. FIRST His Silence is not a refusal. Jesus ALWAYS had a definite reason and purpose behind every action and every word or lack thereof! SECOND One of the greatest CHALLENGES that our faith must overcome is the SILENCE of God. When we are in trouble and in need, and it seems as though heaven is shut up to us and things are only getting worse, it is that SILENCE of God that is one of the most DIFFICULT CHALLENGES to overcome. Moms you come to Jesus for your child, your husband, your neighbor and you don t hear anything from the Lord. Maybe you can relate to the psalmist when he said (Psa 6:3 NLT) I am sick at heart. How long, O LORD, until you restore me? (Psa 89:46 NLT) O LORD, how long will this go on? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your anger burn like fire? Satan loves to use God s silence as an opportunity to condemn us. Satan tries to convince us that God SHOULDN T listen to us that we 5

6 don t DESERVE to even ask of God, let alone receive an answer. This is HUGE This mom didn t come because she was QUALIFIED (because she was of Jewish pedigree and thus privileged to the covenant promises of God). She didn t come to Jesus on the basis of her merit. She didn t come and say - Lord, give me what I deserve. She came seeking MERCY. THIRD It s important that we notice what she noticed. She noticed that Jesus did NOT say No. He had only said that she was outside of the covenant privileges of Israel. It is interesting that this mom saw hope in the silence of Jesus. She had more faith in the silence of Jesus than we often have in the promises of Jesus. We have awesome promises concerning prayer. Yet we often stumble at these promises of God while this woman persisted in the face of the silence of Jesus, and every other thing that challenged her faith in Christ. Moms If your faith is being challenged today, Remember that Jesus wants to bring you to the same place he brought this mom the place of faith and worship the place of experiencing His infinite mercy and compassion and power. 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, Send her away, for she is crying out after us (keeps yelling about it). 24 He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, Lord, help me. HER response to His NO response She comes and WORSHIPS Jesus! The religious leaders of Israel REJECTED Jesus as Messiah. The scribes and the Pharisees came to condemn and criticize. But this gentile mom in the face of the silence of Jesus WORSHIPS Jesus!! In response to her worship Jesus RESPONDS - 26 And he answered, It is not right to take the children s bread and throw it to the dogs. This seems really harsh! It would seem that Jesus is calling this mom and her daughter dogs. The answers to our Bible difficulties are quite often resolved by looking at the original language and/or by way insights into 6

7 the historical and cultural background. The apparent harshness of Jesus is explained away when understood in the light of the historical/cultural context and linguistic clarity. The Jews didn t (and still don t) have curse words like we do (they borrow curse words from us). In the day of Jesus there was the prevailing view that gentiles were beyond the reach of God s love and that gentiles only served the purpose of fueling the fires of hell. So in that day (and in some Jewish circles today) they would use the term gentile as an insult. 1 Samuel 17:26 For who is this uncircumcised Philistine If they wanted to really insult you they would call you a dog. 2 Samuel 16:9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head. If they really, really, wanted to insult you they would call you a gentile dog. THAT insulting word dog meant the large scavenger dog in the streets. They didn t keep them as pets. So there s some cultural history. But the language Jesus used is important. The word that Jesus uses here is a different word. It is the word that means little puppies. It was a reference to the puppies that lived in the house. Because they didn t have napkins in that day, when the family was done eating they would wipe their hands on the leftover bread. And they would throw that bread on the floor for the house pet. But they would never think of giving that last little crust to the puppies if there wasn t enough food for the children in the house to eat. Jesus isn t thinking of the woman (and Gentiles) as scavenger dogs - He s thinking of them as puppies! Jesus is basically saying I want to feed the house of Israel You ll get yours but Let the children (of Israel) first be filled And she was good with that! NOTICE the FINAL RESPONSE of this woman following the statement that Jesus has just made! 27 She said, Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters table. 7

8 I WONDER what she was seeing in His face and in His eyes? These are things that aren t recorded here. As indifferent as Jesus appears to be there must have no doubt been a look in the eyes of Jesus that said something else because she didn t go away. She HAD to have seen something in His eyes as He was dealing with her that CAUSED her to RESPOND with boldness and confidence and hope Alright I ll take the crumbs. Lord, just the leftovers will do for me. I ll just take what falls on the floor. FIRST I believe that every Authentic Christian has, with the eye of faith, seen that look. The Bible tells us HOW it is that we came to TRUST our hearts and lives to Jesus 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. For most of us there was no VISIBLE view of the FACE of Jesus when the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shined in our hearts but I believe that in a very real way, in a very real spiritual way, every follower of Jesus has seen that same look in the FACE of Jesus Christ that this desperate mom saw. SECOND Moms, when you are desperate for your children, and you are puzzled by the silence of Jesus; puzzled by an answer the Lord has given to you dive into the Word and look into the face of Jesus. See the perfect love and mercy of Jesus in the Gospels. Look at Jesus moved with compassion in the Gospels and remember that Jesus has not changed! He is the same yesterday today and forever. AND THE RESPONSE OF JESUS to her response 28 Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith! Jesus is amazed at her faith! What made the faith of this mom so great? She persisted in asking and trusting when everything seemed against her Race, Gender, the Disciples; even the response of Jesus seemed to be against her. Yet ALL of these things made her persist in asking! By the way, there is only ONE other time and ONE other person in the 8

9 Gospels where Jesus notes the greatness of faith It was the faith exercised by another non-jewish person a Roman centurion. INTERESTING Both were Gentiles. And both miracles were done at a distance. What an awesome picture of the saving power of the Gospel coming to those who appeared the farthest from being saved. I bet He smiled when He looked at her and said 28. Be it done for you as you desire. And her daughter was healed instantly. Mark 7:30 KJV And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed. I think she got more than the crumbs, don t you? Mark 7:25 tells us that when she came to Jesus she fell at His feet! QUOTE: The Demon drove her to Jesus, so she parked at His feet! She believed Him and went. She walks off the pages of Scripture to find the demon gone and her daughter sleeping and at rest. How long since she had seen that? We will see this mom in heaven. CLOSING 1.) This mom is a great EXAMPLE of what it looks like to COME to Jesus. Somewhere, sometime, by someone, this desperate mom HEARD about Jesus. We know from Matthew that the news of Jesus had blazed out from Galilee all the way to Syria and Lebanon. This desperate mom saw someone whose life had been radically touched and transformed by Jesus. Maybe another desperate mom was among those who were coming to Jesus and literally throwing at the feet of Jesus those who were sick and possessed with demons. This desperate mom heard that person tell them about the mercy, compassion, truth and love of Jesus. REMEMBER Jesus crossed borders to MEET this mom in her desperation! When she comes to Jesus she doesn t question Him. She makes NO demands nothing that even resembles But I deserve. There is no option no plan B for her desperation! She just keeps PRESSING in just KEEPS asking! 9

10 QUOTE: Spurgeon When the door is shut in her face, she knocks at it, and when Christ calls her Dog, she only picks up what Christ has said, as a good dog will pick up his master s stick, and bring it right to his feet. Her plea struck, not a chord, but the chord in the heart of Jesus. She simply came as a sinner needing help! Lord, Help Me! This was her 9-1-1! 2.) The importance of coming to Jesus for our kids. Mom (and dad) are we as desperate as this mom to bring our kids to Christ? We need to be. I give my kids all kinds of things. But there isn t anything greater that I can give them than to be found coming to Jesus for them. If you have a teenager you may have often wondered What in the world has gotten in to them? What in the world are they thinking? What has possessed them? Perhaps they have become defiant and rebellious towards your authority. Perhaps you feel that YOU are at YOUR wit s end. This woman was in that state. She had no doubt gone to the various pagan religious practitioners to deal with the problem, but her daughter was none the better. She KNEW that Jesus was the ONLY hope for her daughter. She had such an intense love for her daughter that she would NOT be turned away, that she would NOT take No for an answer. Though Jesus was silent when she cried out, she wasn t discouraged; She didn t stop. Jesus IS the same, yesterday, today and forever! Do like this mom. Go to Jesus for them! He s the same, having mercy on us everyday. DON T MISS THIS MOMS Jesus was drawing her into an intimate relationship with Himself a relationship based upon faith. Jesus was incredibly deliberate and intentional He was drawing her out into an expression of faith that resulted in her worshipping Him. Her faith in Jesus opened the door for her daughter s healing MOMS The faith Jesus works into your lives is a witness to your children (they see that the Christian life is all about Jesus all about trusting Jesus.) 10

11 2 Timothy 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. MOMS (and dads) THAT is how we LIVE on mission, in culture. Not by being preachy or self-righteous but by humbly living by faith in Jesus. And as you LIVE that way you get traveling papers into the lives of those in your world. And when you cross borders into people s worlds they see that JESUS IS THE REAL HERO in your life. YOU SEE the REAL HERO in all of this is not the mom. THE HERO is Jesus. He is the one who crossed the border to meet her. He is the one who drew her into faith. He is the one who in an act of infinite compassion exercised His divine power and saved this mom s daughter. A word of warning Even as men and women who have been redeemed from our Kingdoms of One it is still easy for us to want to replace our King with things. We can even replace Jesus with Christian Principles that we find in the Bible. DON T MISS THIS The ONLY hope that any Biblical Principle can offer us rests on, and is found in, a person that person is Jesus! We must never forget that the Bible is not the spiritual version of the Physicians Desk Reference it is not an encyclopedia for Christian Self-Help. The Bible is the story of God s plan to rescue helpless, fallen, humanity. It s the story of how God rescues men and women from their Kingdom of One and places them into His Kingdom where Jesus rules and Hope is real hope is alive! Jesus came from heaven because what was wrong with us could not be fixed any other way. HE IS THE ONLY ANSWER. HE IS THE ONLY HERO. If our lives and our message offer anything less than that it is less than good news. The way we live and the message we proclaim should point the world around us to Jesus who is the Redeemer who is Hope. 11

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