Do you really believe what you believe is really real?
This question seems simple and maybe redundant, but is profound when you go deeper into the meaning of faith. Faith is built, brick by brick, step by step, day by day into our being, but the question remains, do we really believe who God is, what Jesus did for us and that His Holy Spirit lives in us? Does fear drive us to deeper faith or keep us from a growing faith? What distracts us from pure, unrelenting faith from the One who created us, died for our sin and abides in us?
Do we really believe what we believe is really real?
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
WHAT DO WE LEARN ABOUT FAITH?
Consider this perspective from Warren Wiersbe, Bible Commentator:
Our Lord responded to this woman as He did, not to destroy her faith, but to develop it. Her own replies showed that she was growing in faith and unwilling to let Him go without getting an answer.
When she approached Him as “Son of David,” she was definitely putting herself on Jewish ground, and this she could not do, because she was a Gentile. Of course, this title did reveal her faith in Him as the Messiah of God, for “Son of David” was a name for the Messiah (Matt. 22:42). Since she came to Him on Jewish terms, He was silent. Of course, He knew her heart, and even His silence encouraged her to continue asking.
We cannot but admire the patience and persistence of this Gentile mother. “Lord, help me!” was her next plea, and this time she avoided any messianic titles. She came as a sinner needing help, and she offered no argument.
In His reply, Jesus did not call her a “dog” the way the Pharisees would have addressed a Gentile. The Greek word means “a little pet dog” and not the filthy curs that ran the streets and ate the garbage. “The children” referred, of
course, to the people of Israel.
Jesus was not playing games with the woman, nor was He trying to make the situation more difficult. He was drawing out of her a growing response of faith.
She immediately seized on His illustration about the children’s bread, which was exactly what He wanted her to do. We may paraphrase her reply: “It is true that we Gentiles do not sit at the table as children and eat the bread. But even the pet dogs under the table can eat some of the crumbs!” What a tremendous testimony of faith!
It was this faith that Jesus acknowledged, and immediately He healed her daughter. It is worth noting that both of the persons in the gospel of Matthew who had “great faith” were Gentiles: this Canaanite woman and the Roman centurion (Matt. 8:5–13).
In both cases, Jesus healed the one in need from a distance.
Spiritually speaking, the Gentiles were “afar off” until Calvary, when Jesus Christ died for both Jews and Gentiles and made reconciliation possible (Eph. 2:11).
This woman’s faith was great because she persisted in asking and trusting when everything seemed against her. Certainly her race was against her: She was a Gentile. Her sex was against her, for most Jewish rabbis paid little attention to women. It seemed that the disciples were against her, and Christ’s words might have led her to believe that even He was against her. All of these obstacles only made her persist in asking.
THINK ABOUT IT…
The Gentiles glorified Israel’s God, but the Jewish leaders said that Jesus was in league with Satan (Matt. 12:22–24). Our Lord’s miracles did not cause the Jewish cities to repent (Matt. 11:20ff.), yet the Gentiles believed in Him.
The very miracles that He performed should have convinced the Jews that He was the Messiah (Isa. 29:18–19; 35:4–6;Matt. 11:1–6). Jesus marveled at the faith of a Gentile soldier and a Gentile mother. Yet He was amazed at the unbelief of His own people (Mark 6:6).
As believers in Jesus, we are “His own”. So let us evaluate our faith with the question we began with today;
Do I really believe what I believe about Jesus is really real?
Dear Heavenly Father,
My faith grows daily, sometimes by leaps and sometimes by inches. Transform me to be all that pleases you and gives you glory.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.