The Faith of a Dog

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Read: Matthew 15:21-31

“And the apostles said unto the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’.” Luke 17:5 

The characteristics of great faith are easy to pick out in this story. We may rightly call it great faith, because Christ did. Why was it great? 

Great faith is discerning and clear-sighted. This woman, though a Gentile, clearly discerned that her daughter was “grievously vexed with a devil.” It is not faith to deny the truth about ourselves and our needs. “Devils” (demons) come in many forms. There are proud demons, rebellious demons, and unclean demons. Does our faith identify these? 

Great faith recognizes Christ as the only cure. One is amazed at this Gentile woman. She recognized that Jesus is the Son of David and that in Him is mercy. Many people turn to medicine, psychology, aerobics, and self-help programs. Few turn to Christ. 

Great faith is humble. The woman came with no claim of personal merit. Her attitude was modest and self-depreciating. Jesus’ response would have turned many others away. First, He gave her the silent treatment. Then he implied that she was a dog. But still she came, meekly accepting the truth of Christ’s words. 

Great faith is earnest. It recognizes opportunity. Today Christ is in your “coasts.” Seize the opportunity as the woman did. Maybe your heart needs healing, or your home, or your love for your family. 

The defining moment is in verse 27. The woman allowed that the bread should not be taken from the children, but she humbly implied that as a dog she was entitled to the crumbs. In effect she said, “By calling me a dog, You grant my request without infringing on Your rule. I ask only what falls to the least, the lowliest.” Jesus gladly rewards that kind of faith.

~James Baer

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