There is a great dispensational teaching in this portion, and we do well to study it.  Let’s begin by reading Matthew 15:21-24, “Then Jesus went thence, 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 Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Although He had not announced His presence (read Mark 7:24), this desperate woman of Canaan found Him.  Her daughter was demon possessed and she realized that the Lord Jesus could heal her.  We first notice that this woman was not a Jew but was a Canaanite.  Mark 7:26 tells us this woman was a Greek, or a Gentile.  She approached the Lord as if she were a Jew, calling the Lord, “thou son of David.”  Since she was not a Jew, the disciples asked the Lord to send her away.  The Lord, instead, replied that He was “not sent but unto the last sheep of the house of Israel.”  He defined His purpose to this woman.

We learn that truth…that the Lord Jesus came to save the Jewish people from their sins in several places in the New Testament. 

*  Matthew 1:21 says, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.”

*  Matthew 10:5-6 says, “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But GO RATHER TO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.”

It was only after the Lord had been rejected by the Jews, was crucified, buried and resurrected that He said to His disciples in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into ALL THE WORLD, and preach the gospel to every creature.” The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; TO THE JEW FIRST, and also to the Greek.” So, in our portion in Matthew 15, the Lord’s primary mission was towards the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 

In Matthew 15:25 we read of this woman’s persistence, “Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.”  Here, she simply asked for mercy.  She realized she had no claim to the Lord.  He was not indebted to help her.  She worshipped Him and asked Him to help her.  What humility!  She was desperate and refused to leave the presence of the Lord.

In verse 26, the Lord replied, “But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.”  He was telling her that it would be wrong to take that which belonged to the children of Israel and give it to a dog.  The Greek word for dog is ‘kynárion’ and denotes a small dog or a puppy.  One who was not a Jew, who was a Gentile or a pagan, is intimated here.  The Lord was making it clear to this woman that she had absolutely no claim upon His goodness or mercy.  Was this a callous rejection of this woman, or was it a test of her faith?  Let’s read on to find out:

In verse 27, the woman says, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”  In these few words, the woman acknowledged the truth of what the Lord had said, she took her place as an undeserving dog, yet still asked for just a few crumbs that might fall from the table.  Surely, even a dog is deserving of that! 

The Lord speaks once more and says in verse 28, “O woman, GREAT IS THY FAITH: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”  It was not heredity that moved the Lord’s heart…it was faith.  This woman humbled herself, took the lowly place of a dog at the Lord’s feet, and received her petition from the Lord.  Earlier, the Lord had witnessed the faith of a Roman centurion and said of him, “When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” (Matthew 8:10).  FAITH will always move the heart of the Lord to minister to those who have faith in Him.  (444.4)