Drawing Out Faith

Drawing Out Faith

Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”

But He answered her not a word.

And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” –Matthew 15:21-25.

Men, Jesus leaves Gennesaret for the region of Tyre and Sidon. These are Pagan territories, and a Canaanite (Gentile) woman comes to Him crying out for mercy. Her daughter is severely demon-possessed. Jesus doesn’t answer her. The woman cried out so much that the disciples ask Jesus to send her away. Jesus replies, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of Israel”. The “Lost Sheep” is a good study of its own. But then, she came and worshipped Him, begging Him, “Lord help me!”

We read this and find Jesus uncharacteristically cold and distant. Remember, this is Pagan lands and a Gentile woman. To grant her request without then being filled with Himself would leave her daughter vulnerable to a worse condition (12:43-45). Jesus is basically on a retreat here from His primary mission. He will soon leave with only this occasion recorded.

We are told to pray continually, to ask, seek and knock, it is written that many prayed day and night to God, others fasted with prayer. As with this woman, Jesus is drawing out our faith. Jesus could have healed the daughter without all this drama. It would have been cheap and forgettable. Jesus drew out her focus on Him as her only hope. This woman won’t be allowed to come and make a private plea for help and walk away to her other gods without a life changing moment to reflect back on. She is challenged to appeal to Jesus’ mercy from beyond any merit of her own. The woman now acknowledges Jesus beyond a resource to her need. V25 says she worshipped Him. “Lord, help me!”

This is our lesson today. How many of us will continue to pray while Jesus seems silent? How many will pray when we feel we’ve been denied His answer? How many will worship Him before we get what we want?

Move forward men, identifying Jesus as Lord regardless of how He responds. He is not God, because He is merciful to us. He does not belong to us that we should make drive thru value menu prayers to satisfy our wishes. Is He Lord God of your life?

Vance Durrance

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Healing or Healer

Jesus Our Healer

26. Jesus answered them and said, Truly, truly I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, for on Him the Father, God has set His seal. — John 6:26,27

Over the last several weeks I’ve been dealing with some physical challenges.  Challenges that my Savior could have easily healed or prevented. In the process many have prayed for that healing, myself included, and the prayer has seemly gone unanswered, or has it?  Does my loving Savior have a greater purpose in mind than my physical comfort?  The people in John 6 had had their physical desires met and wanted more.  Jesus calls them out on it. As the chapter continues, Jesus continues to try to point them to eternal life, but sadly many stayed focused on their physical desires, not on the true purpose of the miracle and left.

Before I go on, I need to clarify that I do believe that miraculous healings are for the present day (James 5:14,15). I have seen them. The thing that needs to be remembered though, as in the days of Jesus the physical healing was never intended to be an end unto itself. The purpose of the healing was to point the person or crowd to a relation with Jesus.  The same is true today. No physical healing on this earth lasts long, we are all in the process of dying, unless their is eternal healing. (Salvation)

As the days and weeks have been passing the words of two songs have been going through my head. 1. Do I want the Healer more than I want the healing? 2. Even though I know that all my Savior has to do is speak the words and I will be healed, but if He doesn’t will I trust him any way?  Do I trust my Savior that there are greater purposes going on than my physical healing and or comfort, that of making me more like Him.  Paul said in Phil. 4:11 that he had LEARNED to be content (trust) while he sat in a Roman jail, which God could have freed him from.  Heb. 11:6 tells us that, “without faith (trust) it is impossible to please God.”  As I am going through (learning) this process I can not count the times the Holy Spirit has whispered in my ear “do or will you trust me?”  Do I, do you, want the healing that prepares me, you for eternal life more than the comfort of this life?  Do we want the Healer more than the healing???

Tim Smith

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