Day 18 - A Parent's Commitment

Day 18 - A Parent's Commitment

Written by: Nathan Boyd

Matthew 15:21-28
21 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.” 23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” 24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” 25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”
26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” 28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

If you are a parent, what lengths would you be willing to go in order to help your son or daughter? If they were injured would you rush them to the emergency room? If they were struggling in school would you spend time helping them with homework or taking them to a tutor? If they were struggling with teenage drama, would you sit down and talk with them? Parents that love their children would go to extraordinary lengths in order to help and protect their children from harm. 

In this morning’s scripture we see an example of a mother that is willing to do whatever it takes to get help for her demon possessed child. While demonic possession, or influence, is not something that we talk about often, we know from scripture that Satan and his band of demons are actively engaged in our current world seeking to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). From the details Matthew gives us, the woman and her child are gentiles, specifically descendants of the Canaanites. The Canaanites were pagan people that throughout history have rejected the one true God and his chosen people. It is not unreasonable to think that the demonic possession was a direct result of their worship of false gods. Anytime we worship other gods besides Jesus, either indirectly or directly, we open the door to demonic influence in our lives. 

The mother is desperate and wants her daughter to be rescued from the evil influence that has invaded her child’s life. The reputation and stories of Jesus had spread among the Gentiles, and the women in her desperation believed that Jesus could set her daughter free. The mother begins to cry out to Jesus, but Jesus doesn’t respond. Typically, Jesus responds when people cry out to him, however, this delayed response from Jesus shows the legitimacy of the woman’s faith, she doesn’t give up. The mother recognized that Jesus held the power to deliver her daughter and she wasn’t going to take his silence as his refusal to act on her behalf. 

Jesus eventually speaks up and says, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” Jesus explains his mission to the woman, but again she doesn’t take his response as a refusal to help. She falls to her knees before Jesus and begs for his mercy. Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” The woman, still not satisfied with his response, says, “Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” When he heard this response from the woman he was amazed by her great faith, and it is because of her faith the child is delivered. 

There are three attributes that this woman had that are the secret to her great faith, her answered prayer, and can be applied to our lives. 
  1. Humility - The woman was asking for a miracle from a Jewish man who would have been the enemy of her ancestors. Humility is key in approaching the Lord in prayer - “The Lord opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
  2. Desperation - The woman was desperate and had nowhere else to turn, Jesus was her last hope. Sometimes the Lord will close every door and remove every option in our lives in order for us to turn to him fully. Desperation is a catalyst for spiritual breakthrough. 
  3. Persistence - The woman did not take “no” for an answer but kept asking. This is exactly how Jesus taught his followers to pray in Matthew 7, where he says, “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 the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Persistence makes the seemingly impossible become possible. 

The woman was praised for her great faith and the extraordinary lengths that she was willing to go in order to get Jesus to move on her behalf. In the same way when we approach the Lord in humility, desperation, and with persistence he is willing to go to great lengths for his children as well. “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)

Get out a notebook or a piece of paper and spend some time answering this question, “ What do you need from the Lord right now?” Maybe it is a physical healing, a restored relationship, a renewed marriage, the return of a wayward child, or maybe the salvation of a friend or loved one. Take some time to ask the Lord to move on your behalf and be persistent to pray for this request until you receive an answer. 

Lord Jesus, thank you for hearing my prayers and moving on my behalf. Lord I come before you in humility, desperation, and persistence asking that you would do a great work in my life and the lives of the people around me. Help me to have great faith and trust in your hand at work. ‘’