Mat 15:24-25 To whom does Jesus say He was sent to minister and provide deliverance and salvation? See Mat 15:24. What was His reception from those to whom He was sent? See Mat 15:1-2, 12:22-24, Joh 1:11, etc… How was His reception by this cursed Canaanite woman much different? After being put off twice, what did the woman do and what was her continued plea in Mat 15:25? Contrast the Gentile woman’s persistent pleas for the help Jesus came to give with the indignation of the Pharisees at the help He came to give. Cf. Acts 16:9.
Mat 15:26-28 In what way was Jesus’ third put-off of the woman particularly biting? Cf. 1Sa 17:43, 24:14, 2Sa 9:8, 16:9, Psa 22:16. Why is it improper to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs? See Mat 7:6. What does this indicate about the reason why the secular world cannot in general expect to experience the blessings that belong to those who are in covenant with the Lord and eat at His table? What does Jesus’ reference to the Gentiles as “dogs” indicate about their position before God—apart from Christ—compared to that of the Jews? Cf. Eph 2:11-12. Did the woman dispute or take offense at His description of the Gentiles as dogs? Why not? Cf. Joh 6:68. What would most people’s response have been? What would our response have been? Had the woman been offended, as were the Pharisees in Mat 15:12, and gone away, would she have received her request? Cf. Mat 16:1-4, Luk 18:1-8. What does this episode teach us about the extent to which the Lord may test one’s faith and one reason why a person’s prayers may go unanswered? If we are unwilling to see ourselves in light of the truth and in humility plead for God’s mercy as our only hope, but instead cling to our pride that supposes we are more deserving than we are, should we expect God to grant our requests? If we treat our requests to God as only one of several options and do not view Him as our only hope, and He seems to not hear our prayers and does not answer us a word (Mat 15:23) so that we then pursue our other options, should we expect that He will grant our requests in the same way He granted the woman’s: “be it done for you as you wish”? Notice how close the woman was to receiving her request when Jesus pricked her one last time with such a stinging barb; how close might we be to receiving our requests when we give up and pursue our other options because our only hope is not in Him and we feel compelled to act? Cf. 1Sa 13:8-14.
Mat 15:27-28 What was the woman’s response to Jesus’ third put-off that was so sharp? What does her response indicate both about her great faith and her great humility? How did her faith and humility contrast with that of the Pharisees? How does it contrast with that of many Christians today? Does it contrast with ours? With a great humility of faith, should we expect more than crumbs from God’s table? Is it not better for us to be a dog in God’s household than a prince elsewhere? See Psa 84:10. Scripture records only two people that Jesus commended for having a “great faith”; who was the other one? See Mat 8:10. Why is it significant to Matthew’s purpose in writing that both of these were Gentiles? In what ways did the Jews become so “gluttonous” in their spiritual privilege that by their excess salvation not only came to the Gentiles, but their roles were reversed so that the “dogs” came to eat at the masters at the table, and the children like dogs were cast out? See Phil 3:2, Mat 8:11-12. In what ways have we as Gentile believers now become gluttonous in our spiritual privilege, and what warning does the example of the Jews have for us? See again Rom 11:17-22,25.
1. “Be it done for you as you wish: Note, Every accepted prayer is not immediately an answered prayer… Great believers may have what they will for the asking. Those that will deny Christ nothing, shall find that he will deny them nothing at last, though for a time he seems to hide his face from them.” (Matthew Henry).↩