Then Jesus went there, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.…
The movements of mankind are best studied in the lives of individuals.
I. THE WOMAN HERSELF. All we know of her origin and feeling is contained in the three terms that are applied to her — Canaanite, Syro-Phoenician. a Greek. The first two imply her race. She belonged to that race that the Hebrews called Canaanites — that is, Lowlanders, for the great Phoenician people had settled themselves in the fertile valleys, and on the maritime plains of Palestine, and there in their walled cities had developed in the highest degree an ancient civilization. To this Phoenician stock she belonged. It was divided into two parts — the African and the Syrian stock. She belonged to the Syrian, to the people who inhabited the narrow strip of land between Lebanon and the sea. The last term "Greek," has of course nothing to do with race, nor does it say anything of her language; but religion. St. Paul divides men into Jew and Greek; the word means heathen. She was one of those that worship Baal and Astarte.
II. IN HER CASE OBSERVE THE WORKINGS OF SORROW. That from the outset there began to operate compensating results which took away some of the bitterness.
1. This sorrow worked out in a greater love "Have mercy on me; my daughter is vexed." As if she and her daughter were one. It was a mitigation, and in some degree a compensation, that with her sorrow grew such love.
2. The love and the sorrow together co-operated to produce something higher still. They enlarged the heart, purified her feeling, lifted the thought to immortality; Astarte could no longer fill her heart. She wanted a deity that could be a God of love, not of passion; who would create purity, not crush it. This I gather from the fact that she calls Christ " Son of David." She began to think trustfully of Israel's God. Such were the workings of sorrow in her heart.
III. AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE GREAT DRAWINGS BETWEEN THE SAVIOUR AND THE SOUL THAT NEEDS HIM. There is something mysterious here. It is not by accident that great mercy and misery meet. What is the secret of that journey to Tyre and Sidon. I suppose the Saviour felt some magnetic need pulling upon His heart, claiming the help of His pity and power. She was fifty miles away; the road was mountainous; in all the journey there and back He cures no other affliction and preaches no sermon; His sole purpose was to minister to this single sufferer. The prophetic soul knows when its Lord is nigh.
IV. THE SERENE RESULT THAT IS REACHED. She learned the power of prayer. The disciples were changed; educated for their missionary work; they see how rich a thing a human heart is. She came asking a mercy for herself, and went away carrying it to others.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.