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Lesson 23
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Lesson 23

I.       Observation

A.     Outline

 More Healings (15:21-31)

The Canaanite Woman’s Daughter (21-28)

Great Multitudes (29-31)

Feeding the Multitudes (15:32-39)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Mercy, Son of David, came, worshiped, great is your faith, marveled, glorified the God of Israel, all ate and were filled.

II.    Segment Analysis

1a. The Lord’s words in 24 indicate that His earthly mission was focused mainly on the chosen people of God to whom the promise of the Messiah had been given. Jesus did not intend to exclude the Gentiles in His salvation works because He Himself said that the gospel was to reach all nations (24:14; 28:16-20). But it was God’s intention that salvation began with the Israelites and eventually encompass the Gentiles (Rom 1:16; Jn 4:22; Acts 1:8).

1b. It gives us a glimpse into the future, when salvation will also come to the Gentiles through faith (cf Rom 3:28-30; 10:11-13).

2. The Lord’s words served as a test to the Canaanite woman, to see whether she was sincere in asking for mercy.

3a. They were probably becoming annoyed and impatient with the woman’s unceasing cries. Perhaps they were more concerned for themselves than for the woman’s desperate needs.

4a. She acknowledged Jesus’ lordship by calling Him “Lord, Son of David” and by worshiping Him. She was persistent. She was humble.

5. Time and again in the gospels, the Lord Jesus cited examples of great faith on the part of the Gentiles as a basis of judgment on the chosen people for their unbelief (8:10-12; 11:20-24; Lk 4:24-27). In this example, the Lord withdrew to this pagan territory after He faced the oppositions from the scribes and Pharisees. In great contrast to the unbelieving scribes and Pharisees was the great faith of this Canaanite woman, who humbled herself to beg for mercy despite the Lord’s harsh words. So it was not without reason that the Lord seemed to be difficult with this Gentile woman. What He did added to the sharp contrast between the unbeliever and the true believer, and all the more justified God’s action of saving the Gentiles.

6. The woman first agreed that she was outside the covenant of God and did not deserve to have God’s grace. She even acknowledged that she was like the “little dogs,” a very disparaging remark indeed. When we ask for God’s mercy, we need to acknowledge that we are not worthy, and that we do not deserve to receive anything from God. We only look to God to have compassion on us, knowing that His love is so great that His grace overflows and comes even to the undeserving (cf Ps 123:2).

7. We can see that through the Canaanite woman’s faith on behalf of her daughter, the Lord answered the woman’s request. It would be wrong, therefore, to deny the effect of infant baptism on the basis that infants’ sins cannot be forgiven until they have the ability to confess their faith.

8. The healings of the Lord showed that He was the promised Messiah (Isa 35:3-6). Notice how the Lord’s presence drew great multitudes to Himself. He was truly the King and Shepherd of Israel who would have great compassion and provide for the needs of His people.

9. The miracles of the Lord Jesus were the very deeds of God. He was indeed sent by God to bring salvation to His people, just as God had promised in His covenants to the Israelites. The people praised the God of Israel because Jesus had shown them that God did not forget His people but was still gracious to them (Lk 1:68-75).

10. Both miracles were the result of the Lord’s compassion on the people. Unlike the miracle in chapter 14, where the disciples came and requested that the multitudes be sent away, here the Lord initiated in taking care of the people.

11a. As in the feeding of the five thousand, the disciples lacked the trust that the Lord would be able to do the impossible.

11b. The disciples had forgotten the great miracle that the Lord had performed not so long ago. Likewise, we are often forgetful of all the wonderful things God has done for us in the past. When we face difficulties, we doubt and give up hope. So we need to constantly count God’s blessings in our lives, appreciating and storing in our hearts all of God’s grace in its abundance (just like counting the large baskets of leftovers). Then our faith will be strengthened each time we experience God’s mercy and love.

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