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Great Faith

Daily Reading: Matthew 15

Scripture Focus: O woman, great is your faith! (Matthew 15.28)

Devotional Thought: One of the most intriguing conversations in the New Testament is between Jesus and the Gentile woman in Matthew 15. This woman came to Jesus to beg healing for her demon-possessed daughter. Jesus did not respond the way I would have wanted him to. In commenting on this passage, G. Campbell Morgan wrote: "Against prejudice she came, against silence she persevered, against exclusion she proceeded, against rebuff she won." (BBC)

This woman was confronted with...

  • Her race - against prejudice she came. She was a Gentile and a woman. Not a good combination to get a hearing from a Jewish rabbi! Not only so, but she was a needy person with a needy family. I can almost hear people saying, "Oh great! What does she want?"

  • His face - against silence she persevered. At first it seemed that Jesus ignored her. But I believe he was testing her faith and his disciples' hearts. The disciples just wanted her to go away, but Jesus not-so-subtly reminded them that they were "the lost sheep of Israel." We need to remember that, too, lest we get big-headed.

  • Her place - against exclusion she proceeded. The disciples were certain she didn't belong there. She had to get past them. Then Jesus reminded her that the children were his first concern. It helps us to know that Jesus' word translated "dogs" is actually "pups," meaning the household pets that play with the children. She would not be denied, saying, "I will take crumbs from the table."

  • His grace - against rebuff she won. Jesus answered her: "Great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." With those words, her daughter was healed instantly.

Through it all, she persevered, and great faith was rewarded.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that though I am needy, I am like a pup under the table. When life tests the limits of my faith, help me to persevere. Show me your grace, I pray. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 1 LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 2 You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah 3 You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. 4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us! 5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? 6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? 7 Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. (Psalms 85:1-7)

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