A short devotion for 16th August

Call to worship

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Bible Reading

  • Matthew 15:10-28

Confession

We have come together in our Father’s presence to offer him, through our Lord Jesus Christ, praise and thanksgiving; to hear his most holy Word; to pray for others as well as ourselves; and to ask forgiveness for our sins. Let us then confess our sins to Almighty God.

Most merciful Father, our Creator and Judge, we acknowledge and confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with all our heart; and have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. We earnestly repent and are truly sorry for all ours sins. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen

Message: Jesus meets the Canaanite woman

Text

“Woman you have great faith! Your request is granted.”

Introduction

Women play a large part in the life of Christ as they do for all of us. We just have to go back to the book of Joshua chapter 2 where we meet Rahab the prostitute in Jericho who was the mother of Boaz (husband to Ruth) and great – grandmother of King David, the lineage that was used to bring Christ into the world.

We have Mary the virgin who was used to bring Christ into the world and at a wedding witnessed His first miracle in John 2 when Jesus turned water into wine.

In Matthew 9:20-22 we meet the woman who touched Christ’s garment and was healed. The daughter of Jairus was also healed, Matthew 9:23, and His disciple Peter’s mother in law and what about the woman at the well, a Samaritan whose life was never the same again when she met with Jesus in John 4. What we have here is just a few encounters.

Now we come in our Scripture reading today where we are introduced to a Canaanite woman whose daughter is very ill. Canaan was the old name for Palestine.

The Woman was not for turning

The woman’s daughter was very ill and no matter what those around her thought of her pleading and shouting she was not for turning away. The woman saw in Christ the answer to her daughter’s need and that need was healing, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Matthew 15:22.

Here was last chance saloon; outside of Christ there was no hope.

Because her daughter had suffered she, the mother, also had suffered. There is nothing worse than to see your child suffering when there is nothing you can do about it. The answer to her prayer had just come to the region of Tyre and Sidon and she was not going to let the opportunity go by. The dear soul made such a fuss that the disciples wanted Jesus to send her away, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” Matthew 15:23.

The woman was not for turning. As R.V.G. Tasker points out, “although she well knows that she, a heathen woman, is as unclean in the eyes of a Jew as one of the pariah dogs which prowled around ancients eastern cities, without a home and without an owner feeding on the filth and refuse of the street. The woman accepts everything Jesus was saying and what He was eluding to her.”

She was not interested in getting into a debate with Jesus concerning Jews and Gentiles all that is on her mind is that her was daughter was ill and she needed healing. Here she was able to meet face to face with the One who was able to meet her daughter’s need and she was not going to let Jesus go until He done something about it.

The woman had great faith

“Gentile dog” she is, yet at least she may be allowed to receive a crumb of the uncovenanted mercies of God. Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matthew 15:28

Faith trusts in the person of Jesus, the truth of His teaching and the redemptive work at Calvary. The hymn writer puts it this way, “In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song; This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.” Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 17:20-21, He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

By faith the woman knew that in Jesus was the answer to her need and in Christ alone is the answer to our need.

Prayers of Intercession

The Canaanite woman sought your help. She loved her daughter so much, she was so desperately in need, that she wouldn’t give up till she had her answer. Lord may we learn from this woman, to wait on your expectantly, patiently, persistently, doggedly. Grant us the courage of our convictions when we truly believe we are doing your will.

We pray today for those who feel excluded, whatever their situation, whatever the reason, for prisoners, refugees, the homeless; for the sick, the mentally unstable; for any who feel that they are outsiders. We pray in faith.

Hear us and answer our cry, blessed Lord. Amen

Blessing

May the Lord’s touch heal you;
May his words inspire you,
May his way give you life,
May the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen