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The Syrophoenician Woman's Characteristics: A Model of Faith
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The Syrophoenician Woman’s Characteristics: A Model of Faith

In a nutshell, the article discusses the Syrophoenician woman’s remarkable faith and persistence in seeking Jesus’ help for her daughter’s healing. Despite initial rebuffs, she demonstrates humility and wisdom, impressing Jesus with her “great faith.”

Her story serves as an encouragement to all believers to trust in God through challenging circumstances and to understand that God’s love extends beyond cultural and ethnic barriers.

Key Takeaways

  • The Syrophoenician woman showed remarkable faith when she approached Jesus to ask for healing for her daughter.
  • Despite initially being rebuffed, she persisted in her request with humility and wisdom.
  • Jesus recognized her “great faith” and granted her desire to heal her daughter.
  • All believers can follow her example of trusting God through difficult circumstances.
  • Her story is an encouragement that God hears the prayers of both Jews and Gentiles.

You may remember the brief story told in the Gospels of a Syrophoenician woman who begged Jesus to drive a demon out of her little daughter. Though a Gentile, this humble mother and her desperate plea impressed Jesus Christ with a faith that he described as “great” (Matthew 15:28).

Her brief interaction with the Lord speaks volumes about a tenacity stemming from deep trust in God’s mercy. Let’s delve deeper into this captivating account and discover what we can learn from this admirable woman.

The syrophoenician woman's characteristics: a model of faith

Overcoming Social Barriers

When the Syrophoenician woman heard that Jesus had come to the region of Tyre and Sidon, she sought him out to petition for her daughter’s deliverance.

Mark’s account explains that she had heard about Jesus casting a demon out of a man in the Decapolis (Mark 7:31). Likely, it was this miraculous report that emboldened her to approach the Jewish teacher from Galilee on behalf of her little girl.

This woman surmounted significant social barriers to advocate for her daughter. As a Gentile living in Phoenicia, she risked scorn or rejection by Jews avoiding contact with Gentiles.

Females also occupied a lower rung than males in her society. Nevertheless, as a mother, she pressed through these obstacles with single-minded devotion for her suffering daughter.

As believers today, social barriers still hinder some from approaching God boldly. Take courage from the Syrophoenician woman’s example. Faith in Christ breaks down divisions between people (Galatians 3:28). Pray with confidence, believing that he understands your difficulties and welcomes your sincere petitions.

Demonstrating Humility

Initially, Jesus’ response seemed to reinforce social separation between Jews and Gentiles. He told 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 NKJV).

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Jesus employed a common metaphor that compared Gentiles to dogs, animals considered ceremonially unclean by Jews.

His statement indicated that his ministry focused on Israelites first. The Messiah came to fulfill God’s promises to Abraham’s descendants before opening the door of faith to the Gentiles. The woman would need to wait her turn.

What an opportunity to take offense! Yet with humility and wisdom, this mother embraced the position of a dog begging for crumbs under the master’s table. She did not argue but gently pled, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs” (Mark 7:28 NKJV).

The Syrophoenician woman provides a sterling example of humility for us. She did not allow ethnic slights or potential insults to distract her from her aim. Approaching the Lord with reverence and deference, she cast herself on his beneficence. We could learn from her focus, refusing to be sidetracked by personal offense.

Believer, set aside your social status and self-importance when you come to God in prayer. Adopt humility as you cast your cares upon the Lord, trusting him to provide what you need, even if it seems meager.

Demonstrating Tenacious Faith

The Syrophoenician lady’s persistent faith in God’s goodness won her the miracle she sought. Jesus told her, “‘For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter’” (Mark 7:29 NKJV). He dismissed the spirit afflicting her child from a distance!

This woman never quit asking, never gave up, even when it seemed her petition fell on deaf ears. She took our Lord’s initial silence in stride and continued appealing to him with reverence and sincerity. He honored her enduring faith with the healing she desired.

Jesus himself testified to her stalwart faith, unlike anything he had encountered before among his people. Matthew’s gospel quotes his praise: “‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour” (Matthew 15:28 NKJV).

As a Gentile, this mother pressed through social barriers that may have cowed others. She did not permit ethnic prejudice or potential insults to thwart her aim. With tenacity stemming from profound trust in Christ’s goodness, she secured healing for her tormented daughter.

Child of God, you too can demonstrate a tenacious faith that grasps the gifts of God’s kingdom. Be relentless in prayer, trusting the Lord to answer speedily. Even when circumstances seem to contradict God’s promises, persist in believing.

The Syrophoenician woman’s example urges you onward to lay hold of everything meant for you as a son or daughter of the Most High God.

An Encouragement for All Peoples

Most Bible commentators observe that Jesus’ encounter with the Gentile woman gave encouragement that God’s salvation extended beyond Israel to all nations.

Earlier in his ministry, Jesus had hinted that his ultimate mission included Gentiles when he spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:21-26). This desperate mother’s experience confirmed that Jesus’ miraculous power knew no ethnic boundaries.

The Syrophoenician woman’s story reminds believers that God excludes no one from his kingdom based on race, social status, or gender.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28 NKJV). Everyone who approaches God’s throne with sincere faith can expect His abundant mercy and grace.

Child of God, take comfort that your heavenly Father designed the Gospel to reach the world, including you. When you struggle with feelings of unworthiness or regret over past mistakes, remember the Syrophoenician woman.

Take courage from her story. Lay aside doubt and approach your Father’s throne with confidence that His love and power extend even to you.

Jesus Honors Faith

The Syrophoenician woman’s experience beautifully illustrates that the Lord honors faith. Your attitude and persistence impact how God deals with you in difficult circumstances, especially in suffering and unanswered prayer. He intends to perfect your trust in him.

Approach God like this Gentile mother, with deference, humility, and stalwart assurance that he cares about your plight. The Lord Jesus sympathizes with your weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), even when it seems otherwise.

When answers to petitions tarry, adjust your heart before God rather than making demands. Give Him time to work in a way that will bolster your reliance on Him alone.

Child of God, build your faith as you wait for God’s relief. Choose to trust His heart toward you, even when you cannot trace His hand. God still preforms miracles today on behalf of His beloved children. Persistent prayer for others also accomplishes great things through our compassionate Savior.

The Syrophoenician woman pointedly told Jesus, “Yes, Lord.” Make that your heart’s cry as well—yes to submitting your anxieties and desires to his discretion and timing. You can trust the wisdom and competence of your heavenly Father to care for you better than you know how to care for yourself or your loved ones.

His ways and thoughts rise far above yours. Rest assured He orchestrates all things for your good because you love and follow Christ Jesus (Romans 8:28). That promise applied to a Gentile mother long ago and still holds true today. Jesus remains the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

As you wait for God to come through, stand firm like the Syrophoenician woman. Let her remarkable faith in Christ strengthen yours. The Lord who heard her long ago stands ready to move on your behalf in his perfect way and time. You need only ask in faith, nothing doubting.

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Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.