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Why Did the Lord Jesus Praise the Canaanite Woman’s Faith?

By Wu Min

It is recorded in the Bible, “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried to him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, you son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and sought him, saying, Send her away; for she cries after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said to her, O woman, great is your faith: be it to you even as you will. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Mat 15:22-28). Whenever reading these verses, I cannot help thinking: During the period of the Lord’s work, lots of people believed in Him and followed Him, and countless people gained His grace. However, people, approved and praised by the Lord like the Canaanite Woman, were rare enough to be counted on the fingers of one hand. What confused me most was why the Lord said her faith was great. Is it just because she reasonably admitted she was a dog before the Lord? With the confusion, I repeatedly ponder…

Christ_and_the_Women_of_Canaan

When Jesus came to work and preach in Galilee, few people recognized that the Lord Jesus was the Christ, God Himself at that time. Besides, the Pharisees, together with the Roman government, made up many rumors about the Lord Jesus. As a result, many people rejected the Lord’s salvation. While the Canaanite woman had not seen the Lord Jesus, just having heard of some of the Lord’s work and deeds, she firmly trusted Him, believing that the Lord had the power to cure her daughter’s disease. I really admire the persistence and confidence of the Canaanite woman. Did the Lord Jesus approve Canaanite woman for her faith? But I still did not understand: Why could the Canaanite woman persevere with her trust in Him? What was her confidence and perseverance based on? There were lots of rumors defaming the Lord at that time, so how could she break through the blockades of these rumors and firmly believe in the Lord? With these questions in mind, I looked through the notes of some spiritual figures and also referred to the relevant information online, but I still didn’t get the exact answer.

One day, a co-worker of the church gave me a book, in which a passage answered my question. It says, “At that time, when the Lord Jesus was in Canaan, a Canaanite woman did something… Why did the Lord Jesus praise the faith of this person? It was not because she was willing to be a dog, nor was it because she was willing to eat bread crumbs. This is all secondary. What was it that the Lord Jesus praised her for? It was that she didn’t care whether the Lord Jesus saw her as a dog, as a person, or as the devil Satan. She didn’t care what He saw her as. The most important point was that she regarded the Lord Jesus as God, and that she affirmed the Lord Jesus to be the Lord, and to be God. This is a truth and a fact that is eternally unchanging. The Lord Jesus was God, was the Lord, was the One affirmed as such in her heart, and that was enough. Irrespective of whether the Lord Jesus saved her or didn’t save her, whether He saw her as someone to eat with together at table, or as a disciple, or a follower, or whether He saw her as a lapdog or guard dog, it was all fine, she didn’t care. In any case, it was enough for her to acknowledge that the Lord Jesus was the Lord of her heart; this was her greatest faith. …The goal of people’s pursuit of the truth is to obey God. Irrespective of what God does, what form He appears in or what method He uses to speak to you, the position God has in your heart cannot change, your reverence for God cannot change, the distance between you and God cannot change and your true faith in God cannot change; in your heart, God’s essence and His position cannot change” (“Man is the Greatest Beneficiary of God’s Management Plan”).

After reading this passage, I saw the light. It is because her faith was based on the knowledge of the Lord Jesus that the Canaanite woman had such great faith. The Canaanite woman recognized Him from the work and word of the Lord Jesus, and clearly realized that the Lord Jesus is God Himself, the Creator. No matter how the Lord Jesus treated her, seeing her as a dog, she didn’t mind, because she had a firm belief that the Lord Jesus was God Himself she should worship. she didn’t care about the Lord Jesus’ normal humanity in appearance: a Nazarene, the son of a carpenter. Even if the gospel of the Lord Jesus was convicted and blasphemed by the Pharisees and the Jewish people, she still believed in the Lord. From the gospel He spread, the word He uttered, the mysteries of the kingdom He revealed, and the miracles He performed, she recognized that by no means can an ordinary man have such authority and power, but only God Himself holding sovereignty over all things can do such great work. Therefore, she never abandoned the Lord. From this, we can see that her faith in God is not only acknowledging God but also firmly believing that the Lord Jesus is the coming Messiah, the Christ, the Creator of the heavens and earth and all things. God examined the innermost heart of man and saw the faith of the Canaanite woman. Neither did she deny God for any reason, nor did she give up faith in God because of the attitude of the Lord Jesus. Thus the Lord Jesus said her faith was great. This is the most precious.

Compared with the Canaanite woman, the Pharisees had a totally different attitude toward the Lord Jesus. The generations of the Pharisees trusted Jehovah and served God in the temple all year round. In spite of the fact that they were proficient in the laws and commandments, that they heard the word preached by the Lord Jesus, and that they saw the miracles the Lord Jesus performed, they still wantonly convicted the Lord and denied His work, saying blasphemous things. They only saw the normal humanity of the Lord Jesus that He was ordinary in appearance and had parents and sisters, so they condemned the Lord Jesus as a person and blasphemed the flesh of the Lord Jesus. They never knew the divine substance of the Lord Jesus from His work and words. Eventually, they committed a heinous crime—nailed Jesus to the cross, and were cursed by God. At this very moment, the confusion in my mind was finally resolved with the greatest of ease. From the Lord Jesus’s work and words, she came to realize He was the coming Messiah. This is the root of her faith that the Lord Jesus praised.

Through reading these verses, I realize when it comes to the return of the Lord, getting to know God from His words and work is of the utmost importance. Just as the Canaanite woman, we should have true faith in God and truly do as the Lord said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (Jhn 10:27).

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