Jesus and the Syro-Phoenician Woman

Monday Morning Moment / Key Takewaway:
“Would any of you trade in the crumb of your salvation for anything in this world?”
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Sermon Handout

  • Mark 7:24-30
  • Matthew 15:21-28
Sermon Series:
Will Robinson

Mark 7:24 – 30 (NASB)

24 Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice.

25 But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet.

26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.

27 And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

28 But she answered and said* to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.”

29 And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”

30 And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left.

Matthew 15:21 – 28 (NLT)

21 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

22 A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of

David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”

23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”

24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”

25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”

26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”

27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their master’s table.”

28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

To bow down is from proskuneo, which literally means to prostrate oneself and is frequently translated “to worship.” Whether or not the woman’s bowing down was intended to be worship, it was clearly an act of humility. She threw herself at Jesus feet and pleaded with even greater desperation, Lord, help me!

Notice how the woman responded to what Jesus said. There was no feministic protest by the Syro-Phoenician woman. When He said, “We feed the children first and not the dogs,” the woman responded,

“Yes, Lord.”

  • But whether that ethnic slur was great or trivial, it didn’t bother that woman. She didn’t stand up in protest and say: “How dare you insult me and speak to me as if I were a dog, even if it’s a household pet. I’m no dog. I’m a woman.” That was not her response.
  • Her response was: “Yes, Lord, I understand. I have no prior claim to your mercy. I am not numbered among the children. I can’t jump up on the table and feast upon the food that you set before your children.
  • I don’t want that. I’m satisfied, Lord, with the crumbs. All I’m asking is that you would just let one crumb that falls from your table come into my mouth, and I’m satisfied. Heal my daughter, please. I know she’s not in your family. I know she’s not numbered among the children. We are the dogs who wait for the crumbs, but one crumb is all I’m asking for.”

Do you see the difference between this woman and the Pharisees? This woman wasn’t fighting for her rights or for her dignity. She knew who she was.

Jesus heard what He wanted to hear. Her seeking heart would not give up. Like Abraham, she grew strong in faith through God’s testing (Rom. 4:20), and like Jacob wrestling with the Lord (Gen. 32:26), she would not let go until He blessed her. She fulfilled the pledge of Jeremiah 29:13-14, “‘And you will seek

Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”

Highly pleased with the woman’s response, Jesus declared, O woman, your faith is great. Without having heard the Sermon on the Mount, she came with the humble, mourning, meek, and seeking heart that God requires for kingdom entrance (Matt. 5:3-6).

She exhibited the attitude expressed in Luke 16:16 of vigorously pressing forward (Gk. word: biazomai) into the kingdom and in Luke 13:24 of striving, struggling, straining every nerve (Gk. word: agonizomai) to enter it.

Because of her great faith, Jesus granted her wish that her little child be delivered from the demon, and her daughter was healed at once.

Monday Morning Moment: “Would any of you trade in the crumb of your salvation for anything in this world?”