BibleTools

Topical Studies

 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Printer-Friendly          E-mail this page


Bible verses about Exorcising a Syro-Phonecian
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 15:21-28  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

When Jesus exorcised a Syro-Phoenician woman's daughter (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30), it was a time of peril for Him. Herod was suspicious, and the Pharisees no longer concealed their loathing of Him, having become openly hostile toward Him. Although many of the common people were enthusiastic over His marvelous works and profound teachings, many were also deeply offended by some of His words, which exposed them as sinners.

So Jesus saw a need to seek seclusion to rest and instruct His disciples in private. Mark records, however, "But He could not be hidden." The glory of Christ's teaching and miracles could not be concealed in this darkened world.

The disciples' appeal to get rid of the woman reveals their weariness of the crowd's incessant pleas for Jesus' intervention. Her persistent cries for her daughter's healing were just another aggravation and too much to deal with.

As a Phoenician, the woman would likely have worshipped the mother-goddess "Ashtoreth" or "Astarte," also known as "the Queen of heaven," who was thought to be the giver of all life. This goddess supposedly allowed her worshippers to do all sorts of evil. This woman, then, from a background of total paganism, sought divine mercy both for herself and for her demon-possessed daughter.

Matthew's account expresses that the daughter was badly demonized, totally insane and disabled. Her anxious mother, unable to do anything for her relief, pleads with Jesus for mercy on her and her daughter. She addresses Him as "Lord," revealing her respect for Him as having authority and superiority. In calling Him "the Son of David," she recognizes Him as Israel's Messiah. She identifies herself with her daughter's need, implying that healing her daughter would mean mercy for her, as her child's misery was her own. No doubt, the merciful Jesus anticipated her need for Him as He had with others (John 5:6).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcising a Syro-Phoenecian (Part One)


 

Matthew 15:21-28  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In this miracle (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30), Jesus uses His meeting with a pagan woman from beyond the borders of Judea to illustrate the future potential of the Gentiles. While Christ spent most of His time ministering to Israelites (Matthew 15:24), on a few occasions He did mercifully intervene on behalf of Gentiles.

The Gentile identity of the woman who sought exorcism for her daughter is emphasized three times in the accounts: in Matthew 15:22, she is "of Canaan"; and in Mark 7:26, she is called both "a Greek" and "a Syro-Phoenician," a person from Phoenicia, then regarded as part of Syria. Jesus performs this miracle in the coastal area of Tyre and Sidon, the same area where Elijah performed the miracles of providing meal in the barrel and raising the Gentile widow's son from the dead (I Kings 17:8-24).

Later, the apostle Paul stopped at Tyre and met with some Christians there (Acts 21:3-4), showing some of the influence Christ had on these Gentiles. Not only was this miracle part of that influence, but Luke 6:17-20 also tells us that many from that area came to Judea, bringing their sick and demon-possessed to Christ for healing.

Regarding the exorcism of the daughter, we see that Christ declares the girl to be healed, and it is so. Clearly, the woman believes that distance does not matter regarding Christ's power to heal, for when Jesus tells her to go home and that her daughter is healed, she leaves Him with complete confidence that His word is true and omnipotent. She is another of Jesus' "other sheep" (John 10:16), a Gentile, not an Israelite to whom He had primarily come. She undoubtedly made this miracle known to other Gentiles, opening the door for the apostles to proclaim Christ's purpose for coming into the world: to bring salvation one day to all humanity.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcising a Syro-Phoenician (Part Two)


 

Matthew 15:24  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus seems to encourage the woman's hopelessness by saying, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (see also Matthew 10:5-6). As a Gentile woman, she normally would not have had any right to receive help from and access to Jesus, since His responsibility at the time was to those of the circumcision, Israelites (see, for instance Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 2:11).

A contradiction seems to lurk here, since He came as the Promised Seed in whom all nations would be blessed (Psalm 72:11; Luke 2:32; Romans 15:9-12). He had also declared that other sheep, not only Israelites, must be brought to Him (John 10:16). Although He came as Savior of the world, there was purpose in restricting His ministry to Israel (specifically to the Jews). His first priority was to fulfill the Messianic, redemptive promises to them. He was reserving the good news of the salvation of the Gentiles until He had fulfilled His God-given responsibility. In following this plan of salvation, His initial work was specifically to Israelites.

Jesus' work thus began locally in preparation for it to spread to all nations. His followers would go into the entire world and preach the gospel (see Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8), which His death and resurrection made possible. Therefore, Jesus' personal, physical ministry was limited to Judea and Galilee where He performed the majority of His miracles and delivered His teachings. The scattered instances of Gentiles receiving His goodness are forerunners of the Spirit being poured out on Israelite and Gentile alike (Acts 10:1-31; Romans 11:11).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcising a Syro-Phoenecian (Part One)


 

Matthew 15:26  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

When the Gentile woman says, "Lord, help me," Jesus up to this point had spoken only to His disciples. Now He speaks to the woman, telling her she is not of Israel and that, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." By "children" He means Israelites (Acts 10:36), while "dogs" were symbols of unclean Gentiles, a proverbial expression used by the Jews to represent their sense of national superiority over the nations.

Jesus does not Himself call the Gentiles "dogs," using the term only here to point out the normal antipathy between Jews and Gentiles, which His disciples had echoed. The word He uses for "dogs" is a mild one, meaning "little dogs" or "puppies"—not large, wild dogs native to the area but domesticated animals like those the Romans had introduced during their occupation. It suggests the family puppy under the table at dinnertime, begging for a scrap.

Because of her faith and humility, the woman does not take offense at this. His words do not discourage her because she was hopeful with faith, and her works demonstrate that hers was not a dead faith, but a strong one. She was resourceful and knew enough about Jesus to believe that He was both compassionate and powerful. Feeling deeply unworthy and contentedly accepting her place among the dogs, she merely asks for spiritual crumbs from His merciful table—a little crumb for her daughter is all she seeks.

Counting herself a "puppy," she faithfully looks forward to being counted by God as His child (Galatians 3:26). Although she stands outside of the elect family of Israel, she trusts that Jesus' goodness would impart a blessing. By intervening on behalf of her and her daughter, Jesus shows that the Gentiles' potential for salvation is no less than that of Israelites.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcising a Syro-Phoenecian (Part One)


 

Matthew 15:28  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The woman receives a two-fold reward: She is commended for her great faith and receives healing for her child. Christ shows that He approves of her boldness and honors her faith, which—along with her persistence and humility—earn her blessings. She keeps knocking at the door of opportunity until it is opened.

From this, we should learn a lesson about prayer. Initially, she seems to be rejected and denied access to Christ's power, but then, having seen her faith, Jesus opens His grace to her. Christ commends her for "great" faith. She takes the lowliest place, but her faith in Christ earns her His highest praise.

Her faith is tested by His silence and then by His discouraging reply, but it is necessary for Him to see the strength of her faith, as well as for her to realize what it takes to follow Him. He is pleased with what He finds in her.

Ultimately, the Lord sustains our faith and gives us hope to strengthen it (Psalm 138:3). Her faith was built on hope of good things to come, and what she had heard of Christ and seen of His power motivated her. Her unparalleled trust in Him proves that it is not blood lineage through Abraham that identifies his children in the faith, but faith itself. Although a Gentile by birth, she would become a spiritual Israelite through belief and conviction (Galatians 6:16). The strength of her faith is manifested in what she overcame—not physical obstacles, but mental and emotional barriers.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcising a Syro-Phoenician (Part Two)


 

Mark 7:26  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The term translated "kept asking" (NKJV) or "besought" (KJV) is in the imperfect tense in the Greek, implying continuous action. Her persistence is seen in her constant pleading with Him and is emphasized by the fact that she pleads continuously in spite of the various rebuffs she receives. Few people would have continued praying after the first few rebuffs, as most of us are prone to quit if we do not receive a swift answer.

Christ says, "Men always ought to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1)—and this woman did not lose heart! She faces four rebuffs that required great persistence to overcome to obtain help for her daughter: deafness to her plea (Matthew 15:23), discouragement from the disciples (verse 23), demotion of her position (verse 26), and deficiency in her opportunities (Mark 7:28). Are these rebuffs any different in principle to the ones we experience in our prayers?

Even though it seems that Christ sometimes ignores us, He does not really, merely delaying His response to strengthen our faith and resolve. Answers can give great encouragement, but delay checks our sincerity and forces us to be more fervent, strengthening our faith. Christ's turning a deaf ear to the woman's prayer should encourage us in our prayers when they are not answered immediately. Even the most sincere and faithful prayers, as this woman's was, can be delayed by God. Because we give up so quickly, delay exposes many of us as having little faith, so Christ frequently tests our faith to improve its quality.

We can never allow ourselves to be satisfied with our faith because, as God knows, we need more faith if we are to do more for Him. He rewards persistent faith that includes a full assurance of hope. Faith overcomes obstacles, personal trials, and the world. The apostle John writes, "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (I John 5:4-5).

That is the faith we need!

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcising a Syro-Phoenician (Part Two)


 

 




The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 110,000 subscribers are already receiving each day.

Email Address:

   

We respect your privacy. Your email address will not be sold, distributed, rented, or in any way given out to a third party. We have nothing to sell. You may easily unsubscribe at any time.
Printer-Friendly          E-mail this page
 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
©Copyright 1992-2014 Church of the Great God.   Contact C.G.G. if you have questions or comments.