You Have Great Faith
Matthew 15:21-39 (Pastor Heo)
The Faith of the Canaanite Woman
15:21-28pp — Mk 7:24-30
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered,”Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
15:29-31pp — Mk 7:31-37 15:32-39pp — Mk 8:1-10 15:32-39Ref — Mt 14:13-21
29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel. 32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” 33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?” 34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.” 35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38 The number of those who ate was four thousand, besides women and children. 39 After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.
The Bible is the Revealed Word of God.
Are you a Christian? A Believer? Do you believe? Have faith? We cannot talk about the importance of faith too much. Faith is foundational to the Christian’s creed and conduct.
We are saved, justified, sanctified, see the glory of God, please God, walk with God, are healed, experience miracles, make the impossible possible. The whole of our salvation including past, present, and future depends on faith.
In today’s story, a Canaanite (Gentile) woman came to Jesus and asked him to heal her daughter – he said nothing. The disciples encouraged him to send her away. He said, “I’ve come to the children of Israel” (and sternly) “it is not right to give the bread to the dogs” (Gentile dogs). She said, “Yes, Lord, I’m a dog, but even the dogs eat the crumbs from the table.” Jesus was amazed. She showed great perseverance. He didn’t say, “Wow! Great perseverance!” He said, “Wow! Great faith!”
Remember Matthew 8, the centurion:
He came and said, “Lord, my servant lies at home, paralyzed in great suffering, please heal him.” Jesus said, “OK, I’ll go.” He said, “No, no, no, no need to come, you’re very busy and important. Just say the word and he’ll be healed.” Jesus was surprised – great humility! But he said, “You have great faith! I have not found anyone else in Israel with such great faith!” And immediately his servant was healed.
Remember Mark 10, Bathemaeus:
He was a blind beggar, and he shouted from a distance, “Jesus! Son of David! Help me!” Many rebuked him, but he cried out more and more. Then Jesus called him and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “I want to SEE!” Wow! great passion/zeal/eagerness! Jesus said not, “Great zeal!” He said, “Great faith! Your faith has healed you!”
Do you have faith?
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus saw and rewarded the same thing in each story: Faith. He is still looking for this today.
Matthew 18:18? “When I come to earth and see faith… Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
2 Corinthians “Examine yourselves to see whether or not you are in the faith. Don’t you know that Christ is in you? Unless you fail the test.”
Everyone has “faith” or “faiths” – and everyday, we ACT on it. We act according to what we believe. Faith cannot be separated from action – it is the demonstration of faith and faith is the driving force of action. For example, why are you sitting on the bench? You have faith it won’t fall down or collapse on you. We buy a box of milk without first checking inside the box to be sure it is milk – because we have “faith” that it’s actually milk. When we go to the restaurant and order food, the owner doesn’t ask “Do you have enough money?” They have FAITH that we do. Likewise, taxi drivers believe that we will pay at the end of our route.
Our whole lives are built on faith and the reliance on testimonies of others.
“Faith” matters less than “saving faith.”
Not all faith saves us. Even demons have faith. Even Satan believes there is one God. His faith makes him shudder. But his faith about God will never save him. Faith IN Jesus Christ alone is saving faith. Faith in anyone or anything else will never save.
- Dictionary: faith and belief = the same
- Bible: belief = thought; faith = heart
Faith puts belief into active action and connects possibilities with actualities.
Faith is ACTing on what we BELIEVE in.
- Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is being sure of what we hope for…”
- Hebrews 11:11 “By faith, Abraham… by faith Noah… by faith Joshua… by faith Samuel… “ and on and on.
What is the source of true faith?
2 things: God’s (divine) side
#1: God’s side
This is the work of GOD. This is a GIFT of God’s grace. Eph “It is by grace you have been saved through faith – not of yourselves…” Romans 12:3-4 “By the grace given to me, I say, do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought…”
Hebrews 12:2 “Jesus Christ is the author, perfector, and finisher of our faith.”
So, we have nothing to boast of, because faith is the GIFT of God.
BUT, #2, there is a human side.
Our faith grows greater and greater while we read the Bible.
- The Word of God = the object of our faith.
Our faith in Christ grows stronger and stronger as we HEAR the word of God preached, Romans “Faith comes by HEARING…”
- Jesus Christ = the object of our faith
Our faith also grows by prayer. This is the instrument in the development of our faith. One day, the disciples prayed, “Lord, increase our faith.” One day, a man with a demon possessed man came and said, “Help us please.” And Jesus said, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” He said, “Lord, I DO believe. Help my unbelief!”
- Third, our faith grows through the PRACTICE of faith.
Do you have faith? Yes.
Do you… practice… your faith?
Jesus says (Matthew 25?) “He who has will be given MORE, but he who does NOT have, even what he has will be taken FROM him.”
That faith that is given to us as a gift from God can be increased through our own practice. So, if you have little faith, it’s your responsibility.
- By faith, we can be saved and spend eternity in heaven with Christ.
- By disbelief, we will be found in our sins and cast into hell forever.
If we have true faith, we have real peace and joy and assurance. The great question is not: what can I do? But how much can I believe in Jesus Christ?
May God bless us all that Jesus may say of us, “You have GREAT faith!” Do you think Jesus would say that of you?
Last verse, “and they praised the God of Israel” (this indicates that these are Gentiles).
Still today, if we have faith, Jesus heals broken lives. Yes, we can bring suffering people to Jesus. Who do you know that needs Jesus’ healing touch in their lives? We can bring them to Christ through our prayers, actions, attitudes – so that Jesus can do his healing.
Jesus feeds the 4,000
Remember the previous chapter?: Jesus feeds the 5,000
This time, 7 loaves of bread and a few fish.
- In the previous chapter, Jesus fed 5,000.
- In this next chapter, Jesus fed 4,000.
- 5,000 = in the spring (sat down on the grass)
- 4,000 = in the summer (sat down on the earth – little grass – high/hot summer)
- 5,000 = in Galilee, near Bethseda (Jews)
- 4,000 = in Decapolis (10 cities) – the root federation of 10 Greek cities (mostly Gentiles)
- 5,000 = they had been with him one day
- 4,000 = they had been with him 3 days (they’d used up their own supplies of food – so Jesus’ compassionate heart could not permit him to send them along hungry)
The motivation of the miracle: to meet human needs
- 5,000 = 12 baskets left (baguni = small)
- 4,000 = 7 baskets left (gwangjuri = big)
(same word in English – how about in Korean? = different)
In Greek, different word:
- 5,000 = copinus = narrow-necked, flask shaped bag – like a lunchbox carried by Jews to avoid eating “Gentile” food
- 4,000 = spuris = big enough to carry a MAN
Acts 9 – the story of Paul’s conversion
Immediately afterward, he started to preach, and many Jews conspired to kill him. They kept a close watch at the city gate in order to kill him, and his followers lowered Paul from the city “in a basket” (spuris – the same basket here)
We are surprised to see the reaction of the disciples:
The experienced the miracle of the 5,000 feeding some months ago. But… they forgot.
If only they remembered how powerful, graceful, unchangeable, Jesus is – they should have said, “Yes! We believe! Our Lord is able to MULTIPLY bread and fish! We do not need to worry!” But they said, “Oh, wow. Where can we get so much bread?…”
Do you / we also FORGET Jesus’ grace, provision, and power?
We have lived up to NOW with his grace! If we worry about the future, this is such LITTLE faith in Jesus!
Jesus fed us yesterday! He is feeding us today! Won’t he certainly feed us tomorrow as well? Why worry?
If you believe “I am what I am, I have been what I have been by the grace of God” then you also can/should believe “I WILL BE what I WILL BE by the grace of God.”
May God bless all of us to be called of Jesus, “You have great faith!”