Mother’s Day

A Mother’s Faith
Matthew 15:21-28

Dr. William S. Epps, Senior Pastor

Sunday, May 8, 2022
Mother’s Day
21 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. Matthew 15:21–28 (ESV)


Today is Mother's Day. A special day like Mother’s Day affords us the privilege to do what we sometime neglect to do and that is to express appreciation for mothers. 
We are prone to cultivating patterns of neglect whether intentionally or unintentionally. Therefore, we have a variety of days as reminders that there are some things we should not forget. One of those days is Mother’s Day, for it reminds us to acknowledge and recognize the contribution of mothers. 

There are a lot of demands on mothers. They are expected to be homemakers, raise well-mannered, successful children, prepare meals, create an enjoyable environment, and you name it. It's got to be the toughest job in the world.
Just think of what’s expected of her in our success-driven society:
~Have a successful career
~Keep the house spotless
~Raise children with character and morals
~Be a great cook
~Look like a model
~Be a charming hostess and conversationalist

However, this pressure around mothering is nothing new. 
Eve was blamed for original sin and she had one son who killed his brother.
Hagar, Abraham’s handmaiden, had a son by him. She was sent away by Abraham with her boy, Ishmael—and they almost died in the desert.
Jochebed was the mother of Moses; Egyptians were killing all male Hebrew babies to curb population, so she placed Moses in a basket and let it loose on the river.
Mary, mother of Jesus: no room for her in the inn; had to flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath; Jesus was missing as a child; then there was Jesus’ trial and crucifixion.

Consider what it means to manage life with all of the challenges, circumstances and conditions that require you handle them reasonably well.   
Monday, May 9, 2022
There is a marvelous story in the gospel of Matthew as well as Mark about a mother who comes to Jesus. As the scene unfolds we find that she demonstrates remarkable resilience which ends with Jesus saying, "woman, great is your faith."  She was a Canaanite woman who came from the country north of Palestine. All we know is that she came to Jesus after hearing that He was where she could get to Him. She was a mother whose child was possessed and she sought Jesus to help her child. We don’t even know her name! This anonymous mother exemplifies faith that is recognized by Jesus as great. The woman acknowledges who Jesus is, addressing Him as, "Son of David." Jesus does not answer her. The disciples are annoyed by her persistence and want Him to send her away. Jesus says, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Yet she continues in conversation until she is granted what she desires.
The Canaanite woman came to Jesus crying, "Have pity upon me Son of David!"
It is the only occasion in which Jesus was ever outside of Jewish territory: the land of Tyre and Sidon north of Galilee where the Phoenicians, the enemies of the Jews, lived. What is implied here? Did it foreshadow the spread of the gospel to the whole world? Was it the beginning of the end of the geographical barrier to His message? Could it be that even enemies should have the gospel of Christ proclaimed to them?
The Apostles reacted to the woman with irritation. She was a nuisance. They wanted to be rid of her -- the sooner the better. Even Jesus' response seems inexplicable at first (Jesus did not respond to her).  After she pled for help in curing her daughter's possession by a demon, Jesus replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread, and to throw it to the pet dogs," -- hardly a comforting response. But this did not stop her. She acknowledged Him as "Son of David." She was persistent and did not let obstacles such as the insults of others, stop her.
The Canaanite woman was tough and resilient, and took responsibility to overcome barriers.

One characteristic of resilience is to take decisive action, surely a fitting description of the Canaanite woman.
What did this woman do to deserve such praise from Jesus? “Oh woman, great is your faith. Be it unto you as your desire.”
Consider what it means to be a person of great faith. 
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Firstly, a mother's faith is purposeful. 

Here was a mother who, in her need, was prepared to cross any obstacle to turn to Jesus for help. Faith still requires that we make the effort to cross whatever barriers may stand in our way. What barriers, you say? 

She was a woman / She was a Gentile /  She was a Canaanite

She knew that she wasn’t doing alright by herself. She had tried other ways and they had all failed. Now she would seek help from Jesus, regardless of the cost. Love for her child made her accept Jesus’ silence and yet still appeal to Him; love made her suffer apparent rebuffs from the disciples. She saw in Jesus a compassion that would not turn her away. She believed in His ability and willingness to help. The measure of faith is conditioned and determined by what we see in Jesus. She saw in him compassion, kindness, and graciousness.  
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Consider what it means to be purposeful with your faith.  
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Secondly, a mother's faith is persistent.

There were at least three intimidating factors that could have kept her from her persistence:
1) Silence of Jesus (v.23). She didn’t perceive it as indifference. She reached behind it and spoke to his heart.

2) Rebuke of the disciples (v.23). She went over their heads to the Lord Himself!
3) Behavior of Jesus (v.24). What Jesus in effect was saying, “Sorry Madam, but you don’t belong to the right group; you have no claim on me.” “I came to the household of Israel.” She didn’t try to analyze His response. She simply refused to be put off by it. She let her need speak for itself. She fell at His feet and cried, “Help me, Sir.” That’s the essence of all great faith—to stretch out your hand to Jesus in humble desperation.
Now that’s persistence! That’s the kind of dogged determination that this mother possessed.

Consider what it means to be determined with your faith.  
Thursday, May 12, 2022
Washington Irving: “The love of a mother is never exhausted. It never changes—it never tires—it endures through all; in good repute, in bad repute, in the face of the world’s condemnation, a mother’s love still lives on.” 

Persistence is the hallmark of godly-motherhood.

She would not be discouraged when Jesus did not respond to her cry for mercy: when He answered her not a word. She would not be discouraged by the contempt shown her by Jesus’ disciples who urged Jesus to send her away. She would not be discouraged when Jesus declared that, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  

Look at the way this mother persisted. “Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, 'Lord, help me!'," (Matthew 15:25). One of the most powerful prayers that anyone can pray is embodied in these three words: “Lord, help me!” A person must lay aside all to be able to cry out from the depth of one’s soul this three word prayer!
She would not be discouraged by the seeming unconcern of Jesus:
"But He answered and said, ’It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs." (Matthew 15:26). The Greek word employed by Jesus was “kynarion” which is best translated “little dogs” (household pets) rather than the scavenging mongrels that roamed the streets and waysides of that day. What might at first appear as highly derogatory was, in reality, tenderly uttered by our Lord.
She did not argue with Jesus but accepted what he said!
“And she said, ’Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table'," (Matthew 15:27). There are times when we might feel like contending with the Lord when we do not get the response from Him that we are seeking. But we are wise indeed if we honor Him as Lord and continue to humbly ask Him for mercy and compassion.

Consider what it means to be persistent with your faith.
Friday, May 13, 2022
Thirdly, a mother's faith perseveres.  
She relied on the GRACE of Jesus. When our Lord told her that it didn’t seem right to take bread from the children of Israel and throw it to the little dogs of the Gentiles, she didn’t burst into tears and walk away. Instead, she gave Jesus an answer that must have excited Him! She said, “True, Sir. I admit that I have no claim on You, but there must be some extra grace—some grace that I don’t deserve, and I’m appealing to You for that.” Even the dogs get the crumbs that fall from the master’s table (v. 27).
No wonder Jesus replied, “Woman, you have great faith.” No wonder from that moment her daughter was made whole. This mother possessed great faith because she won over her difficulties, and over the devil. Every obstacle and opposition may be conquered by faith through prayer.
So, don’t despair when faced with a problem. Cross the barriers to Jesus. Persist in your belief. Receive His grace which He offers freely to all who will approach Him in true humility.

The Canaanite woman grasps what the crowds and disciples fail to understand and perceive - that the good news belongs to everyone, even those considered outsiders.
What an unbelievable statement of faith this is in face of such little outward evidence for hope. For, on three occasions, Jesus seems to turn her away. First, Jesus remains silent after her initial plea, and then only answers her after the disciples insist that He send her away. After making another, more insistent plea, Jesus makes a statement that seems to reinforce the disciple’s desires that she give up asking and just go away. But then it is her third plea that changes everything, and for such a wise reply Jesus grants her request and her daughter is healed.

Consider what it means to persevere seeing in Jesus the grace
you need to provide relief for what you are facing.  
Saturday, May 14, 2022
The Canaanite woman teaches us a great deal about the nature and practice of faith. Consider her situation. The woman’s traditions and her people’s history offered her little comfort when confronted with a crisis much bigger than she could handle by herself.  She is told not to expect anything from the Jewish rabbi. They told her that the Jews cannot offer her any help according to their own traditions and laws. And yet this woman persisted and pushed through conventional wisdom and refused to give up. Her reward was a gift of divine mercy and the discovery of a God who gives unending grace to those who ask Him.

And look at how this woman behaved at her darkest hour. She answered Jesus’ silent and initial replies by continuing to beg for his help.

She essentially says: I admit that I am no more entitled to get what doesn’t belong to me. But even little pet dogs are granted mercy from their masters’ table even if it is just crumbs. Even they are permitted to eat up the scraps that fall from their children’s plates. So I don’t believe that you will do nothing more for me, Jesus, because I know you are merciful. I’ve heard how you’ve helped other Gentiles. I’ve heard about the mercy you’ve shown for your people. I believe in your Gospel, and so I refuse to believe that you will not help me in my distress just as your Father helped the Syrian widow and her son (1 Kings 17:67-24) and helped Naaman the leper (2 Kings 5:1-19) through the prophet Elisha.

Jesus was delighted with her answer. He happily granted her request and we are forever blessed with her brave example. This desperate mother pushed through her fear and believed. She expressed faith regardless of the Lord’s seeming indifference and was rewarded beyond her expectations when Jesus healed her daughter with but a word.


Moms, I want to tell you that the world can be changed by women of great faith.
One child at a time? the world can be a different place.
Keep praying! Keep believing! Keep coming to Jesus!
Keep waiting on Jesus for the crumbs to fall from the table!

Be purposeful, be persistent and persevere. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ will graciously relieve anxiety, confirming expectations. Remember, the Lord’s grace will graciously relieve anxiety confirming expectations when you are purposeful, persistent and persevere.
Consider what it means for the grace of Jesus to
graciously relieve anxiety confirming expectations
when you are purposeful, persistent and persevere.  

Because You Loved Me
~Celine Dion
(Thank you Mom!)

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