Matthew 15: 21–28 | Faith is a fight!

SERMON 15 AUGUST 2 | Ben Hall |

Watch the sermon here, beginning at 3:45 min.

When news broke on Tuesday evening that Auckland was to go to Level 3 lockdown, suddenly there was a surge in traffic to the Coromandel peninsular and north to the beaches like Mangawhai  – let’s get out of here! was the reaction from some Aucklanders with holiday homes outside of Auckland region.

How did you react? Was it ‘ho hum’! Anger? Fear?  I thought, ‘oh no here we go again!’  And my mind began to fill with all the what ifs!

In times of stress or trouble there are two effective responses. Fight or Flight.

Fight – we can beat this thing, or Flight – let’s get out of here.  To stand by and see what happens is not an option and risks being overcome by the situation.

Our reading today is about a non-Jewish woman who comes to Jesus for help while he is on holiday.

Jesus has gone with his disciples to the region of Tyre and Sidon – to the coast, to the beach. He has gone out of Israel, and away from his work area for a rest.    

God’s purposes are not determined by our location or our circumstances. God has divine appointments set up for each one of us. Was this meeting between Jesus and the woman by chance? Or a divine appointment? Or did the woman hear that Jesus was in the area and go find him? Mathew records this event as occurring after the feeding of the 5000, walking on water, calming the storm and the healing of many people at Gennesaret. So, his reputation was widely known. She knew who Jesus was, she knew he could heal her daughter.

Who do you identify with in this story?

Jesus – Don’t bother me, I’m on holiday! He wanted to get away from the crowds and he seems to ignore the woman’s persistent cries for help. But not everything is as it seems. If he had simply granted her wish, how would his disciples or anyone know the depth of her faith? In this short conversation he draws out and exposes her faith.

The woman – she had such a love for her child that nothing was going to distract her from her mission to see her daughter healed.  I, like many parents, have stood feeling helpless by the bedside of my sick child, with an aching heart prepared to do ANYTHING to help them get well.

She believed – she knew who Jesus was – first calling him son of David, recognising his lineage and him a Messiah. She knew he could heal.

She was persistent, calling out repeatedly, and finally, kneeling at his feet, she says simply, “Lord, help me”.

She had Attitude! She would not take no for an answer, she knew that she was not entitled to what she was asking for. She did not take offence at being called a dog, but turned it around to emphasize that even the dogs get the crumbs – all she needed was a few crumbs of Jesus’ healing power. 

The Disciples – they said to Jesus, ‘just give her what she wants, make her go away’. Hardly a compassionate response.

In these uncertain times, we do not know what the future holds. We have an opportunity to draw aside. We must use this time to be refreshed and at the same time be aware of those in our community, our neighbours, those we work with, who need support, care.

We need to have the faith and boldness of the woman who really knows Jesus for who he is and what he can do for us and our family

We must be ready to give hope and be a blessing to those who are feeling fearful or despondent.

Because we know Him who holds the future.