March 7, 2021
And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed." (Matthew 15:22).
Someone once said, “Faith is when you get to the end of your rope, you tie a knot, and hold on.” Someone else once said, “Faith is when you walk to the edge of the dark abyss, then take one more step.” Friedrich Nietzsche, the oft quoted darling of the philosophical atheist, said “Faith is not wanting to know what is true.”
The Apostle wrote (Hebrews 11:1), Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. It is the substance (that which sets under something; the foundation, contract, promise, ‘title deed’) - of things hoped for (things expected, assured, promised), and the evidence (proof or prooving, conviction, accomplished fact, things done) of things unseen (realities beyond the senses).
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe” (Augustine, 4th century theologian). “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” (Thomas Aquinas, 13th century theologian). “Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation” (Elton Trueblood 20th century theologian).
This Syro-Phoenician woman came to Jesus in faith, trusting Him to heal her demon possessed daughter. Why didn’t she go to Astarte, her national god? She probably did many times with prescribed rites and ceremonies and sacrifices. But to no avail. “For faith to make sense and to have power it must be placed in a trustworthy object; and as the Canaanite woman turned her back on her idols she place her faith in the Lord, the Son of David” (John MacArthur).
The contrast between those who believed in Jesus and those who didn’t is remarkable. Those who came to Jesus in faith treated Him with utmost respect and honor. They humbled themselves before Him not just because they wanted something from Him, but because they recognized who He was. But the Scribes and Pharisees scorned Jesus, rebuked and reviled Him, and treated Him with great contempt. They didn’t give Him the common courtesy afforded a fellow Jew. They didn’t want to know Him. They didn’t need Him. They had no faith in Him.
The leper was healed, as was this woman’s daughter, the woman with the issue of blood, the demoniac of Gadara, Jairus’ daughter, the repentant thief on the cross . . . but not the Pharisees and Scribes and Sadducees. They could not be saved because they trusted in themselves.
“Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of faith that not only heals the mind and body and spirit, but also saves the repentant soul. Thank You for opening my eyes to faith and to You as the trustworthy object of faith. May Your name be praised forever! Amen.”