Good Shepherd Lutheran

Keep Asking and Knocking – Matthew 15:21-28
Despite all odds, the woman we see in Matthew 15:21-28 has survived being a culturally ostracized single mother with a demon-afflicted daughter. But now as she follows along behind Jesus and His disciples, she’s out of options and out of money. She’d heard that this Jewish miracle-working prophet who could cast out demons was coming to her town, and she’d tried everything she could think of to help her daughter. She even called on the pagan gods of her culture, but nothing helped. Jesus is literally her last chance.
But when she first encounters Him asking for help, He refuses to answer her. To make matters worse, the disciples mistakenly take His silence as a rejection of this suffering woman, so they try to drive her away. And when Jesus finally does speak to her, He tells her that His blessings are only intended for the Jews. She’s not Jewish, so it seems she’s out of luck.
And if that wasn’t discouraging enough, Jesus also refers to her as a dog. Now the word Jesus used was the term for a pet dog not some flea-bitten mutt. But that’s not much of a compliment. If any husband tried telling his wife she looked like their beloved Golden Retriever I think you can imagine her reaction.
So, this Gentile woman has just received what’s essentially a mild insult from Jesus and it seems like one discouraging thing after another just keeps piling on in. She’s been struggling to help her daughter for years in a culture that rejects her and blames her for her daughter’s affliction because of some imagined sin. And Jesus has just turned her away, insulting her in the process. All this while the disciples keep jeering at her and trying to drive her away.
Most people would have given up already. It’s amazing that she didn’t just concede defeat and walk away. But she was one tough lady, and that’s why when she stands her ground and asks Jesus again, He answers her cry for help.
While Jesus’ initial response seemed harsh, it demonstrates a common theme in Scripture. That of persistent faith displayed through a time of testing. Abraham was tested by being asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. Jacob wrestled with God. Joshua had to conquer fortified cities before claiming the Promised Land. David fought Goliath and lived in exile before becoming king.
With all the odds stacked against her, when this Gentile woman got knocked down by circumstances and criticism she got back up. When others told her to quit because she was wasting Jesus’ time, she continued to ask.
We need to follow her example. When prayer seems to go unanswered. When it seems like there’s no hope. When it seems like there’s nowhere else to turn, don’t give up! Jesus is always there. Just keep asking and knocking and He will open that door to your miracle.