The Silence, the Denial, the Delay

Matthew 15:23 – But He answered her not a word……..


She was a woman of Canaan with a desperate need.  How out of the ordinary it must have been for a gentile to come to Jesus; Him being a Jew surrounded by crowds of Jews.  Was it awkward for her?  Did she draw strange looks and disconcerting stares?  An outsider; a gentile.  She had no part in the covenant, no reason to think that she deserved anything from Christ.  But she is desperate and she had heard about Him (Mark 7:5).  Perhaps she had heard about His healing of a centurion’s servant and was clinging to the hope that there was indeed some portion of mercy for the gentiles.

Whatever her state of mind, she comes to the place Jesus is staying and apparently from a distance, she cries out to Him.  As she begs Him to cast a demon out of her daughter, He responds with…..silence.  Even the disciples take up her cause, asking Jesus to send her away, almost certainly intending that he would do so by granting her request.  At this Jesus replies:

“I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24


Was she emboldened by this unexpected mediation by the disciples?  For she now comes close enough to fall at His feet and worship Him.  Undeterred by His previous disregard of her plea, she continues to present her request, only to be met with this response:

But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” Mark 7:27


This would have been enough to crush most of us, but with a bold faith she answers Him:

“Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Matthew 15:27


And the result…..

Then He said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed. Mark 7:29-30


Did this woman have such confidence in the mercy of Christ that she was compelled to continue presenting her petition, or was she so desperate that she had no other choice?

Although she was ignored – “ and He answered her not a word”

And denied – “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of Israel”

And delayed – “let the children be filled first”

She persisted with a tenacity that would shame the most valiant prayer warriors, and yet with a humility exhibited by few.  What a precious combination. 

And she trusted that a crumb from the hand of Jesus was sufficient to meet every bit of her need.  But because of her faith she was granted the children’s bread.

3 thoughts on “The Silence, the Denial, the Delay

  1. dove124 August 4, 2008 / 8:31 pm

    question: What is your point?

  2. Eirene August 5, 2008 / 4:21 am

    Hi Dove124,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. My point? Well, mostly I was just very moved when I read this passage and wanted to share my thoughts on the process of answered prayer for her. I love to read about how Jesus interacted with people and their response to Him. I hope this answers your question. God bless you.


  3. dove124 August 6, 2008 / 12:13 am


    Ok !!

    And by the way, THANK YOU for answering my question. Have a nice day.

    God Bless

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