The Faith of a Gentile Woman
Matthew 15:21–28, “Then Yeshua went away from there, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Master, Son of David; my daughter is grievously demonized.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she cries after us.’ But he answered and said, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Then came she and worshipped him, saying, ‘Master, help me.’ But he answered and said, ‘It is not suitable to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.’ And she said, ‘Truth, Master, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Yeshua answered and said unto her, ‘O woman, great is your faith. Be it unto you even as you desire.’ And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
Prophetic Points to Analyze
- verse 21— coasts
- verse 22— Son of David
- verse 23— send her away
- verse 24— I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel
- verse 25— came she and worshipped him
- verse 26— the children’s bread
- verse 27— crumbs which fall from their master’s table
- verse 28— made whole
The Canaanite woman in this story is a non-Israelite Gentile who recognized that Yeshua was the Messiah, Son of David. She, like Rahab of Jericho and Ruth the Moabitesse, had accepted the Elohim of Israel, and she even put her faith in Yeshua, Israel’s Messiah.
In faith, this woman recognized that part of the Messiah’s mission was to exercise dominion over and eradicate from this earth every vestige of satanic influence, while simultaneously advancing the kingdom of Elohim. Indeed, we find prophesied in the Book of Revelation Satan’s demise, his removal from this earth and his confinement to the bottomless pit at the return of Yeshua and the establishment of Yeshua’s millennial kingdom (Rev 20:1–3).
At his first advent, it was Yeshua’s mission to preach the good news of the kingdom of heaven, and to begin establishing the kingdom of Elohim on earth (Matt 4:17)—a mission that his disciples were to continue after his ascension.
Furthermore, the Scriptures teach us that Yeshua and his disciples preached that the “kingdom of heaven was at hand” (Matt 4:17), and that it was near because the sick were being healed and the demonized delivered (Luke 10:9; 11:20). The kingdom of heaven was “among them” (Luke 17:21) through the work and person of Yeshua, and through the fact that the saints are being “translated into the kingdom of his [Elohim’s] dear Son” (Col 1:13; 1 Thess 2:12).
This is what Yeshua and his disciples taught, and what those who followed him believed including any formerly non-Israelites Gentiles, such as the Canaanite woman in this story. Upon acknowledging Yeshua as their Redeemer, these Gentiles are no longer strangers or aliens to the nation of Israel, but become grafted into the commonwealth of Israel and the blessed beneficiaries of the divine covenants of Israel (Eph 2:11–19.
As noted throughout this book, we see that Yeshua’s primary target group was the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Yet the good news message never precluded non-Israelite Gentiles from sojourning with Israel and becoming grafted into the nation and the covenantal promises YHVH made to them (Exod 12:48; Num 9:14; Eph 2:11–19; Rom 11:13–24).
Bread on the masters table metaphorically represents the Word of Elohim, the instructions, teachings or precepts of Elohim (i.e., the Torah) given to Israel to live by. It also points to Yeshua, the Living Torah-Word of Elohim (Matt 4:4; John 1:1, 14; 6:48–58). Yet there has always been a righteous “Gentile” remnant that has been attracted to the glorious light of the Torah-truth of Elohim (Isa 60:1ff). Such was the case with Joseph’s wife, Rahab, Ruth and the mixed multitude that left Egypt with the Israelites (Exod 12:38). Even in our day, many Christian (non-Israelite“Gentile”) believers have been feeding from the spiritual crumbs that have been falling from YHVH’s banqueting table, which David references in Psalm 23:5. These Gentiles have received salvation, deliverance and hope, yet, in a state of being somewhat detached from the Hebraic roots of their faith, they have not realized the fullness and richness of the gospel message. They have become grafted into the olive tree of Israel and are now Israelites in the eyes of YHVH Elohim.
Yeshua referred to this Canaanite woman from the area of Tyre and Sidon as a “little dog” (Matt 15:26). He contrasted this non-Israelite woman with the ten tribes of the lost sheep of the house of Israel (verse 24), which was his mission to regather (Matt 10:5–6). The woman, in great faith, replied that even dogs were allowed to feed from the master’s table and therefore benefit from the spiritual food, salvation and healing available through the Jews and the Jewish Messiah (verses 22 and 27). Upon seeing her great faith and perspicacity, Yeshua granted her the request that he heal her demonized daughter (verse 28).
Furthermore, Tyre and Sidon were cities of Phoenecia, and not part of geographical Israel. This woman of Canaan may have been an Israelite dwelling in the land of the Gentiles, or she may have been a non-Israelite Gentile. Whatever the case, she had a knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures and knew who the Messiah was and that his mission would be to heal the sick and to go primarily to Israel and not specifically to the non-Israelite Gentiles.
What can we learn from this encounter between Yeshua and the Phoenician woman? First, there will be those of the non-Israelite Gentile nations who will have a heart for the Messiah and will seek him for spiritual healing. Second, some Israelites will want to keep Messiah for themselves and will hinder the non-Israelite Gentiles from coming to faith in Messiah. Third, Yeshua had a heart for and was willing to minister to those Gentiles who had faith in him. Fourth, some of those who are non-Israelite Gentiles will be demonized and need deliverance at the hands of the Messiah, the Anointed One. This whole story shows the loving grace of our Savior for everyone and that he is not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to him in repentance (2 Pet 3:9).
This Gospel account teaches us that the message of the gospel—a message of great hope, deliverance, salvation and life—is not confined to the biological nation of Israel alone, but is a message of hope for all peoples throughout the world. As such, all peoples everywhere are called to become part of Israel.
What You Can Do
Do you feel as if you have been feeding from the spiritual crumbs and leftovers in your spiritual associations? Have you wanted to be an Israelite, or felt a spiritual affinity with the people of Israel, but have believed what your spiritual teachers have told you—that you are a Gentile, and always will be one? Well, it is time to believe the Word of Elohim, which clearly states that if you are redeemed by the blood of Yeshua, you are no longer a Gentile, that is, one who is without Elohim and without hope (Eph 2:11–19). You are now a redeemed Israelite and a literal child or descendant of Abraham, and as such, you are entitled to the full rights and privileges of an Israelite (Gal 3:26–29). As such, you will enter the New Jerusalem through one of the twelve gates named after the twelve tribes of Israel; there is no gate labelled “Gentile” (Rev 21:12)! So now it is time for you to have faith like the Canaanite woman, and claim what is yours and what the Father wants to give to you!
Yeshua Feeds Four ThousandContinue reading