Lesson 21 | Sabbath, 21 October 2020
Phoenicia means “palm.”11
“And from thence He arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but He could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of Him, and came and fell at His feet.” Mark 7:24, 25.
“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, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Although this answer appeared to be in accordance with the prejudice of the Jews, it was an implied rebuke to the disciples, which they afterward understood as reminding them of what He had often told them, that He came to the world to save all who would accept Him.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 400.
The gospel to the Gentiles
- What nationality was the Syrophoenician woman? What did Paul write about the Gentiles and women?
Matthew 15:22, first part And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts….
Mark 7:26, first part The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation….
Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
“The people of this district were of the old Canaanite race. They were idolaters, and were despised and hated by the Jews. To this class belonged the woman who now came to Jesus. She was a heathen, and was therefore excluded from the advantages which the Jews daily enjoyed. There were many Jews living among the Phoenicians, and the tidings of Christ’s work had penetrated to this region. Some of the people had listened to His words and had witnessed His wonderful works. This woman had heard of the prophet, who, it was reported, healed all manner of diseases.” –Daughters of God, pp. 64, 65.
- What serious family problem did the Syrophoenician woman have? To whom did she appeal, and what was her request?
Mark 7:25, 26 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: 26The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
Matthew 15:22, last part … And cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
“The daughter of the Syrophoenician woman was grievously vexed with a devil, whom Jesus cast out by His word…. In nearly every instance, Christ addressed the demon as an intelligent entity, commanding him to come out of his victim and to torment him no more.” –The Great Controversy, p. 515.
“As she heard of His power, hope sprang up in her heart. Inspired by a mother’s love, she determined to present her daughter’s case to Him. It was her resolute purpose to bring her affliction to Jesus. He must heal her child. 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.” –The Desire of Ages, 399.
- What incorrect attitude did the disciples’ have toward the Gentiles, women, and children? Who broke down every barrier of separation?
Matthew 15:23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and sought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
Luke 18:15, 16 And they brought to him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 2:13, 14 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
“The Saviour longed to unfold to His disciples the truth regarding the breaking down of the ‘middle wall of partition’ between Israel and the other nations: the truth that ‘the Gentiles should be fellow heirs’ with the Jews and ‘partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.’ Ephesians 2:14; 3:6. This truth … [was] more plainly … revealed on the occasion of His visit to Phoenicia, when He healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman. These experiences helped the disciples to understand that among those whom many regarded as unworthy of salvation, there were souls hungering for the light of truth.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 19.
- Testing her, what did Jesus say to the Syrophoenician woman? Who are the lost sheep of the house of Israel and children of God?
Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
John 1:12, 13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
“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.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 400.
“When He said, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,’ He stated the truth, and in His work for the Canaanite woman He was fulfilling His commission. This woman was one of the lost sheep that Israel should have rescued. It was their appointed work, the work which they had neglected, that Christ was doing. This act opened the minds of the disciples more fully to the labor that lay before them among the Gentiles.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 402.
- Why did the woman of Syrophoenicia bow before Jesus? What did she request of Him again?
Matthew 15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Philippians 2:6, 10, 11 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:… 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
“She begs for the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table. If she may have the privilege of a dog, she is willing to be regarded as a dog. She has no national or religious prejudice or pride to influence her course, and she immediately acknowledges Jesus as the Redeemer, and as being able to do all that she asks of Him.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 401.
- With what words did Jesus again test His disciples and the woman? After what wise, persevering, meek answer did she receive the blessing for which she so longed?
Matthew 15:26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
Mark 7:27-29 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. 28And she answered and said to him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. 29And he said to her, For this saying go your way; the devil is gone out of your daughter.
“The Saviour is satisfied. He has tested her faith in Him. By His dealings with her, He has shown that she who has been regarded as an outcast from Israel is no longer an alien, but a child in God’s household. As a child it is her privilege to share in the Father’s gifts. Christ now grants her request, and finishes the lesson to the disciples.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 401.
Faith given to the saints in the last days
- How did Jesus bless this woman for her perseverance and humble response? Whom does the Syrophoenician woman represent in the last days?
Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Mark 7:30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
“Turning to her with a look of pity and love, He says, ‘O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.’ From that hour her daughter became whole. The demon troubled her no more. The woman departed, acknowledging her Saviour, and happy in the granting of her prayer.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 401.
Additional study – He remembers mothers
“Jesus knows the burden of every mother’s heart. He who had a mother that struggled with poverty and privation sympathizes with every mother in her labors. He who made a long journey in order to relieve the anxious heart of a Canaanite woman will do as much for the mothers of today. He who gave back to the widow of Nain her only son, and who in His agony upon the cross remembered His own mother, is touched today by the mother’s sorrow. In every grief and every need He will give comfort and help.
“Let mothers come to Jesus with their perplexities. They will find grace sufficient to aid them in the management of their children. The gates are open for every mother who would lay her burdens at the Saviour’s feet. He who said, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not,’ still invites the mothers to lead up their little ones to be blessed by Him. Even the babe in its mother’s arms may dwell as under the shadow of the Almighty through the faith of the praying mother. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth. If we will live in communion with God, we too may expect the divine Spirit to mold our little ones, even from their earliest moments.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 512.