Matthew 15:28 MEANING

Matthew 15:28
(28) O woman, great is thy faith.--The answer of the woman changed the conditions of the problem, and therefore, we may reverently add, changed the purpose which depended on them. Here again, as in the case of the centurion, our Lord found a faith greater than He had met with in Israel. The woman was, in St. Paul's words, a child of the faith, though not of the flesh, of Abraham (Romans 4:16), and as such was entitled to its privileges. She believed in the love of God her Father, in the pity even of the Prophet who had answered her with words of seeming harshness.

Be it unto thee even as thou wilt.--St. Mark adds, as spoken by our Lord, "Go thy way, the devil is gone out of thy daughter," and that when the woman went to her house, she found her child laid on the bed, calm and peace and slumber having taken the place of restless frenzy.

It is obvious that the lesson of the story stretches far and wide. Wherever man or woman is by birth, or creed, or even sin, among those whom the judgment of the heirs of religious privileges counts unworthy even of the lowest of spiritual blessings, among outcasts and heirs of shame, the excommunicated and the lost, there the thought that "the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs" may bring, as it has often brought, the faith that changes despair into something not far short of the full assurance of hope.

Verse 28. - O woman, great is thy faith. Jesus had often to complain of unbelief in his hearers; at no man's faith did he ever express surprise, except in the case of another Gentile, the centurion of Capernaum (Matthew 8:10). Be it unto thee even as thou wilt. She had conquered; she gained her wish. But we must not think that Christ consented because his human feelings were overcome by her importunity, like the unjust judge in the parable, though the principle and teaching of that parable were here beautifully illustrated. He acted all the time as God, who foreknew what he would do. He had been leading her up to this climax; he had willed to give her an opportunity of exhibiting this trust and sell-command and unfailing confidence, and now he crowns her with his mighty eulogium, and grants her request, rewarding her great faith by a great mercy. Her daughter was made whole. St. Mark reports the words of Christ, "For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter." He does not say, "I will come and heal her;" he tells her that the cure is already effected. Without personal contact with the sufferer, without any command uttered to the possessing demon, by his silent will alone the wonder comes to pass. This blessing for the child was won by the mother's faith. The two points to be remarked in this marvellous history are - Christ's abnormal treatment of a suppliant, and that suppliant's astonishing faith and perseverance. Both of these subjects have been noticed in the course of the Exposition.

15:21-28 The dark corners of the country, the most remote, shall share Christ's influences; afterwards the ends of the earth shall see his salvation. The distress and trouble of her family brought a woman to Christ; and though it is need that drives us to Christ, yet we shall not therefore be driven from him. She did not limit Christ to any particular instance of mercy, but mercy, mercy, is what she begged for: she pleads not merit, but depends upon mercy. It is the duty of parents to pray for their children, and to be earnest in prayer for them, especially for their souls. Have you a son, a daughter, grievously vexed with a proud devil, an unclean devil, a malicious devil, led captive by him at his will? this is a case more deplorable than that of bodily possession, and you must bring them by faith and prayer to Christ, who alone is able to heal them. Many methods of Christ's providence, especially of his grace, in dealing with his people, which are dark and perplexing, may be explained by this story, which teaches that there may be love in Christ's heart while there are frowns in his face; and it encourages us, though he seems ready to slay us, yet to trust in him. Those whom Christ intends most to honour, he humbles to feel their own unworthiness. A proud, unhumbled heart would not have borne this; but she turned it into an argument to support her request. The state of this woman is an emblem of the state of a sinner, deeply conscious of the misery of his soul. The least of Christ is precious to a believer, even the very crumbs of the Bread of life. Of all graces, faith honours Christ most; therefore of all graces Christ honours faith most. He cured her daughter. He spake, and it was done. From hence let such as seek help from the Lord, and receive no gracious answer, learn to turn even their unworthiness and discouragements into pleas for mercy.Then Jesus answered, and said unto her,.... As one surprised at the strength of her faith, and the clearness and justness of her pious reasoning; and not concealing himself, and the designs of grace, any longer from her, breaks out in great admiration of her, saying,

O woman, great is thy faith! He seems surprised, that she, a woman, and a poor Gentile, should express such strong faith in him; calling him Lord, owning him to be the Messiah, worshipping him as God, believing him able to do what could not be done by human art; and though she met with such repulses, and even called a dog, yet still continued importunate with him, believing she should succeed:

be it unto thee even as thou wilt; let thy daughter be healed, as thou desirest, and in the way, and at the very time thou wouldst have it:

and her daughter was made whole from that very hour: power went forth from Christ, and dispossessed the devil; so that when she came home, as Mark observes, she found her daughter lying on the bed, quiet, and easy, and perfectly well. The conduct of our Lord towards this woman, and her behaviour under it, do, in a very lively manner, represent the methods which God sometimes takes with his people, when they apply to him in their distress; and the nature and actings of their faith upon him: as she, when she first applied to Christ for mercy and help, had not sword of answer given her; so sometimes they cry, and the Lord turns a deaf ear, or seems not to hear, and, in their apprehension of things, has covered himself with a cloud, that their prayer should not pass through; however, an immediate answer is not returned; yea, when others interpose on their behalf, and entreat for them, yet no favourable answer is returned, as was not by Christ to his disciples, when they besought him on this woman's account: and yet, notwithstanding all this, as she, they are not discouraged, but ply the throne of grace with fresh suits, acknowledge that the worst of names and characters belong to them: that they are unworthy of the least of mercies, and should be content with the crumbs of divine favour, but cannot go away without a blessing; they lay hold on every word of God, and hastily catch at it, and improve everything in their own favour, that faith can come at, and so, in the issue, succeed in their requests: effectual, fervent, and importunate prayer, the prayer of faith availeth much with God.

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