Then Jesus went there, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.…
I. WHAT MADE THE FAITH OF THIS WOMAN SO REMARKABLE?
1. She had much against her in her original circumstances. In the eye of a Jew she belonged to the most hated of all the Gentile races. There was a frontier line of dislike to cross, far wider than any distance between Tyre and Palestine. Yet it did not keep her from finding her way to the great Teacher of the Jewish nation.
2. She got little countenance from Christ's disciples. Annoyed at her importunity, and desiring to be freed from the trouble of her presence, they desired Christ to send her away. She could not but feel they would gladly be rid of her, in the way some cast an alms to a persistent beggar. Weaker faith would have felt the chill, and would have desisted. But it is not from them that she seeks an answer. She will take her dismissal from none but Christ Himself.
3. The woman's faith reaches its greatest trial in the conduct of Christ. The disciples, cold as they are, seem merciful compared with their Master. As she cries, and pours her heart into her prayer, He moves away with silent neglect. That dreadful silence is harder to bear than the sorest word that can be spoken. Still she cried after Him, and at last He spoke. But His words, were they not even harder than His silence? For He did not speak to her, but only of her, and that in such a slighting manner as almost to quench all hope. Still she persists, and at length — as Christ all along intended she should — gains her heart's desire.
II. WHAT HELPED HER FAITH TO HOLD ON AND TRIUMPH? We do not speak of the first cause of all, which was Christ's eye watching her steps, and His hand bearing her up, but of the mediate causes by which her faith was upheld.
1. She had a deep home and heart sorrow, spurring her on to make every exertion. In other means had failed, but something told her there was hope here, and to this she clung. The greater the feeling of the trouble, the more surely will it carry you into the presence of the only Saviour.
2. She had learned to take a very humble view of herself. As humility goes deep down, faith rises up high and strong, for humility furnishes the roots by which faith holds on.
3. Her faith was so strong, because it had hold of another Christ, greater and more merciful than her eyes saw. She looked beyond appearances, and fixed her gaze on things unseen and eternal. It is this which keeps men right, amid adverse surroundings. Thick thunderclouds of Atheism and Pessimism sometimes hang lowering over the earth, and threaten to quench all the higher hope; but God has given to the spirit a power by which it can pass up through them and sing like the lark in the sunshine and the blue sky. It is the work of the Lord Jesus Christ to educate and strengthen it by drawing it, often through much tribulation, to Himself.
(J. Ker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.