In Matthew 15:22-28, we encounter a mother who, as a Canaanite, has no right to ask Jesus for anything. Jesus reminds her of this in verse 24 when He says, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Nonetheless, she humbles herself, worships Him, and begs again that He deliver her daughter from demon possession. Once more He responds, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." (The "dogs" reference was not critical of her; it's simply a reference to her not being a Jew.)
She still refuses to give up. Her answer? "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." With these words, this mother suddenly has Jesus' focused attention. Verse 28: "Then Jesus answered and said to her, 'O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.' And her daughter was healed from that very hour."
"Great is your faith!" Have you ever noticed how few times Jesus said those words? Twice. Exactly two times, here and in Matthew 8:5-13, He referred to someone as having great faith, and in both cases the person in question was not a Jew. That alone is worthy of note. He never even told one of His own disciples, "You have great faith!" What made the difference? What do we see illustrated in this mother's story?
1. Great faith seeks God. The very act of seeking God builds our faith, and when we have great faith we automatically go to the Source because we know He has the answer.
2. Great faith is persistent when others don't know what you're going through. This woman was nothing but an irritant to the disciples, but she was a loving mother who was desperate to see her daughter healed and convinced that Jesus could heal her - and she wasn't prepared to give up.
3. Great faith is always tied to worship. Worship requires humility. It demands that we admit our own natural unworthiness and exalt the One we're worshipping.
4. Great faith lays aside pride, jealousy, hurt, hard feelings...and simply focuses on getting to God. Anything that weighs us down or distracts our attention is kicked to the curb so that it cannot stand between us and Him.
5. Great faith understands that the crumb cannot be separated from the main source. This mother understood that, though it was only a small piece, the crumb was still bread. She knew that Jesus' power was an almighty power even if it were expressed in eight simple words: "Let it be to you as you desire." And it was.