The Canaanite woman (or Syro-Phenicia) did not have her identity revealed in the Bible , but her faith was recorded in the Gospels of Matthew 15: 21-28 and Mark 7: 24-30. His boldness and persistence left us with a great lesson in faith.
Jesus had gone to the outskirts of the cities of Tire and Sidon in ancient Phenicia, an area that is now part of Lebanon ( Matthew 15:21 ).
The Bible tells us that Jesus arrived discreetly in the city and wanted no one to know of his stay, but soon after his arrival the news spread ( Mark 7:24 ).
The Canaanite woman had a daughter who suffered from an unclean spirit. Upon hearing the news, the Canaanite went to Jesus in search of healing for her daughter ( Mark 7:25 ).
Jesus and the Canaanite Woman
The Canaanite woman’s plea was met with resistance. When she saw Jesus, she shouted about her situation in order to get his attention: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and is suffering a lot” ( Matthew 15:21 ). Jesus does not answer her plea and the disciples even suggested that she leave ( Matthew 15:23 ).
See: Mothers in the Bible, what can we learn from them?
Moments later Jesus went to Canaanite: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” ( Matthew 15:24 ). Despite the rebuke, these words were not enough to prevent her from standing at Christ’s feet ( Matthew 15:25 ).
Soon after, Jesus speaking using a metaphor: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the puppies” ( Matthew 15:26 ). The Canaanite’s response was bold: “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat from the crumbs that fall from their owners’ table” ( Matthew 15:27 ).
When surprised by that determined response, Jesus highlighted that woman’s faith and her daughter was healed at that very moment ( Matthew 15:27 ).
What does the Canaanite woman’s passage mean?
Although short, this passage teaches us that we must be resilient and never give up on seeking God. Even in a desperate situation, the Canaanite woman did not murmur and did not give up . At no time did she blaspheme or speak the name of Jesus in vain.
When Jesus said that “he had been sent only to Israel” and moments later he allowed a foreigner to heal, he pointed to how the word of salvation would reach the Gentiles ( Acts 10:45 ).
Know: Who were the Gentiles in the Bible?
The metaphor of bread and crumbs illustrated how Jesus’ word would not be fully used by the Jews. Thus other people – even with the crumbs – would have faith and would feed themselves, as was the case with the Canaanite woman.
The passage of the Canaanite woman is inspiring, strengthens our faith and teaches us to be resilient in the face of difficulties. With faith and motivation we must pursue our goal which is Christ ( Philippians 3: 12-14 ).