“Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter … ” Matthew 15:22
Could there be any one more determined than a mother pleading for a sick child? It may surprise us to read that Jesus did His best to discourage this Gentile woman from seeking His help. He ignored her and the disciples told Him to send her away. She was a Gentile and in their view she could have no expectation of blessing from Israel’s Messiah. Jesus seemed to affirm the disciples’ thinking but for a completely different reason. He wanted to draw out and strengthen her faith.
Being a father and grandfather I know the pain and feeling of helplessness when one of my children or grandchildren is suffering and I cannot help relieve it. From observation I believe that mothers feel that pain even more acutely than fathers.
Instead of being discouraged by Jesus and the disciples this mother persisted. Had one of us been an observer on this occasion we might have become angry with her for distracting Jesus’ attention from what we wanted or maybe with Jesus for prolonging her suffering and apparently making it even worse. Notice that no amount of humbling by Jesus discouraged or hurt her.
Jesus wanted to give her much more that what she was asking. She was absolutely sure that Jesus was who He said He was and could do what He said but Jesus wanted to reveal Himself to her. He rewards faith with more faith.
The faith of this mother in Jesus is a lesson to us all. She would not be put off until she had what she wanted. At no time did she demand that Jesus heal her daughter. She begged as one who has no right and deserved nothing. She did not plead her good works, kind deeds or offer to live better in future. She humbled herself and begged. This is quite a different picture than what we sometimes see today. It appears that some people demand Jesus heal them or their loved one. They twist Jesus’ words apparently trying to manipulate Him into doing what they think they have a right to. Satan used this tactic with Jesus and failed (Matthew 4:1-11).
If we have this attitude toward Jesus we can hardly expect our children to come humbly to Him for the Gift of salvation. The greatest need our children and grandchildren will ever have is forgiveness of sin and they must come to Him in full humility. We have no right to forgiveness and neither do we deserve it any more than this mother had a right for her daughter to be healed.
A mother’s love for her daughter was the means by which Jesus drew out her faith in Him so that He became the focus and not her daughter’s plight. She came humbly with nothing in credit, and she promised nothing for the future but she received much more than she asked.
Many a child thanks their mother for begging Jesus Christ for their salvation. Many a child has their mother’s prayers to thank for keeping them from or delivering them out of a destructive life brought about by sin. Let us follow this woman’s example, be of the same mind as her, as we plead for the salvation of our children and grandchildren.