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The Persistent Phoenician Woman Jesus Healed Her Possessed Daughter Part 1

Before looking at the healing of the daughter of the Phoenician woman, let me show you some interesting sites of that ancient city.
The most impressive one is the ancient worship centre of Baalbek. People from all over the ancient world worshipped here.
There is the possibility that the Phoenician woman also worshipped here.
But she did not find soul satisfaction in this heathen worship.
Very near to Sidon there was a place of healing.
One can still see the ruins of the Echmoun temple. It was an ancient place of worship dedicated to Eshmun, the Phoenician god of healing.
She must have been acquainted with the history of Tyre. When Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC he also destroyed Tyre that same year.
She was acquainted with the prophecy of Ezekiel whenever she looked at the columns of ancient Tyre in the Mediterranean Sea?
The one who inspired all these prophecies would come and visit her. After that visit she would never be the same.
Matthew 15:21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
The Phoenicians were of the old Canaanite race; in fact, they called themselves Canaanites (see on Gen. 10:6, 18).
It was the Greeks who called them Phoenicians, apparently after the name of a purple dye (Gr. phoinix) that the former purchased from the latter during the early days of Phoenician trade in the Aegean region.
The Canaanites were of Hamitic ancestry, but early during their residence in the land of Palestine they adopted the Semitic language and absorbed so much Semitic culture that it was long thought they were of Semitic origin. The Jews were Semitic, and there were great similarities in language and general cultural characteristics between the Hebrew and Canaanite peoples.
The following incident occurred in the late spring of AD 30, about the month of May. With the feeding of the 5,000 and the Sermon on the Bread of Life in the synagogue at Capernaum the Galilean ministry reached its climax.
The tide of popularity began to turn against Jesus as it had the year before in Judea and the majority of those who had considered themselves His followers rejected Him. This had been but a few days before the Passover of that year, which Jesus did not attend.
The Third Galilean Tour had greatly alarmed the Jewish leaders. After the Passover a delegation from Jerusalem confronted Jesus with the charge that He was breaking down the religious requirements
But He silenced them by revealing their hypocrisy, and they went away in great anger and rage.
The disciples noted the rage of the spies as their false teaching was exposed. They saw the
Their attitude and threats made clear that His life was in danger. So in harmony with the counsel, He had previously given the disciples He retired from Galilee for a time, as He had from Judea the year before when rejected by the leaders there.
This movement northward marks the opening of a new period in Christ’s ministry, and the close of His ministry in Galilee, to which He had devoted approximately one year, from about the Passover of AD 29 to that of AD 30. It was now less than one year before His death.
Although the immediate circumstance that prompted the withdrawal of Jesus to the region of Phoenicia was the encounter with the scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem, the journey had positive objectives also.
Jesus had a definite purpose not only in leaving Galilee but also in going to the general region of Phoenicia. Now that He had been rejected by the Jews both in Judea and in Galilee, Jesus sought an opportunity to instruct His disciples in labouring for non-Jews.
The heathen needed the gospel, and He now began a series of lessons designed to lead the disciples to realize the needs of the heathen and the fact that they too were prospective candidates for the kingdom of heaven.
The withdrawal to Phoenicia provided an excellent opportunity for such instruction. Jesus performed but one miracle during this visit to Phoenicia. This visit, however, was clearly not a missionary journey in the sense that the three tours of Galilee were, for upon arrival Jesus went into seclusion, and planned to keep His presence there a secret.
After the encounter with the Pharisees, Jesus withdrew from Capernaum, and crossing Galilee, went to the hill country on the borders of Phoenicia.
Looking westward, He could see, spread out upon the plain below, the ancient cities of Tyre and Sidon, with their heathen temples, their magnificent palaces and marts of trade, and the harbours filled with shipping.
Beyond was the blue expanse of the Mediterranean, over which the messengers of the gospel were to bear its glad tidings to the centres of the world’s great empire. But the time was not yet.
The work before Him now was to prepare His disciples for their mission. In coming to this region, He hoped to find the retirement He had failed to secure at Bethsaida. Yet this was not His only purpose in taking this journey.
Matthew 15:21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
Matthew 15:22 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.”
That a heathen woman should address Jesus by this title, which implied recognition of Him as the Messiah, is surprising. There were many Jews living in Phoenicia, and among them the news of the wonderful deeds of Jesus had long since been in circulation (see Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17). It was apparently through these Jews residing in Phoenicia that the woman had heard about Jesus (see DA 400).
This was the fourth occasion recorded in the Gospels on which Jesus had ministered to non-Jews. The first was at Sychar in Samaria (John 4:5–42), the second at Capernaum (Luke 7:1–10), and the third, in the vicinity of Gergesa (Mark 5:1–20).
The Samaritans were, of course, partly Jewish, and though Jesus’ ministry for them would not be looked upon with favour, it would not bring upon Him the censure that work for outright heathen would.
The centurion was friendly to the Jews and believed that they held the true religion. The miracle Christ performed for him was in accordance with the request of the Jewish leaders themselves.
The healing of the demoniacs of Gergesa could not be construed by the Jews as an intentional contact on the part of Christ with the heathen. Rather, they might consider it an emergency thrust upon Christ, in which, in a sense, He drove out the demons in self-defense.
Furthermore, He refused to permit the demon-freed men to associate with Him as disciples. Even now, with the woman of Phoenicia, Jesus was not openly working for the people of the district (see Mark 7:24). She came to Him and thrust her request upon Him.

She had sought help from the heathen gods, but had obtained no relief. And at times she was tempted to think, What can this Jewish teacher do for me? But the word had come, He heals all manner of diseases, whether those who come to Him for help are rich or poor. She determined not to lose her only hope.
Christ knew this woman’s situation. He knew that she was longing to see Him, and He placed Himself in her path. By ministering to her sorrow, He could give a living representation of the lesson He designed to teach.
For this He had brought His disciples into this region. He desired them to see the ignorance existing in cities and villages close to the land of Israel.
The people who had been given every opportunity to understand the truth were without a knowledge of the needs of those around them. No effort was made to help souls in darkness. The partition wall which Jewish pride had erected, shut even the disciples from sympathy with the heathen world. But these barriers were to be broken down.
Christ did not immediately reply to the woman’s request. He received and treated this representative of a despised race as the Jews would have done.
In this He designed that His disciples should be impressed with the cold and heartless way the Jews would treat such a case, as evinced by His reception of the woman, and the compassionate manner in which He would have them deal with such distress, as manifested by His subsequent granting of her petition.
Matthew 15:22 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.”
Matthew 15:23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”
Christ’s purpose was to teach the disciples a lesson in working for non-Jews, and this He did by acting out the contrast between the usual Jewish attitude and His own. The typical Jewish rabbi would have done precisely what the disciples proposed, sent her away without even making a direct reply to her request.
The favour with which Jesus Himself looked upon Gentiles, as eligible to the privileges of the kingdom of heaven, is clear from what He had said about them, together with what He had done for them upon previous occasions. Jesus in no way shared the narrow exclusiveness the Jews felt toward Gentiles.
They did not appreciate the publicity occasioned by the impassioned appeals of this Gentile woman, whom they looked upon as no more worthy than a dog.
Not only was she a stranger; she was a woman. Not only that, she was a foreigner. There was as yet no place in their concept of the gospel commission for strange foreign women.
How did the woman cope with the apparent indifference Jesus was treating her?
But although Jesus did not reply, the woman did not lose faith. As He passed on, as if not hearing her, she followed Him, continuing her supplications. Annoyed by her importunities, the disciples asked Jesus to send her away.
They saw that their Master treated her with indifference, and they therefore supposed that the prejudice of the Jews against the Canaanites was pleasing to Him.
But it was a pitying Saviour to whom the woman made her plea, and in answer to the request of the disciples, Jesus said,
Matthew 15:24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Sorry lady. You do not qualify for grace because you are not Jewish. Have you experience the pain of rejection and discrimination?
Next time we are going to see how Jesus and this third class woman solved the problem.

Updated on 1st Nov 2022

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