Matthew 15:21-28 Lost And Found.
A woman of Canaan, who came from the region of Tyre and Sidon, sought out the Lord for her demon possessed daughter. Anyone familiar with the history of Israel and Canaan would not miss the significance of this encounter, and the woman’s faith being exercised here (vv. 21-22 Cf. Mk. 7:24-30). Her cry was for mercy, and she specifically addressed Jesus as ‘Son of David’. At first Jesus appears to ignore her, and his disciples want him to send her away (v. 23). They know what she represented. Years of war were waged against the Canaanites. Furthermore, his primary focus, at least at this point in his ministry, was to go “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (v. 24). However, she not only acknowledged him as the Son of David, but also as God, for Matthew recorded that she worshipped him. She wanted him to show her and her daughter mercy, and to help her, because she saw him as the incarnate One (v. 25).
What might appear as being a cruel response, as we have it at verse 26, was but a statement of the reality that this woman was not a member of the covenant community, and the bond of that relationship demanded a priority be given to the children in the covenant. Those outside the covenant were indeed regarded as outcasts, dogs as such, and she was a little one at that. Jesus was testing her as to whether she understood her real and deepest need that we all have, that we are all wretches in need of mercy. Deliverance from Satanic bondage was second to their bondage of sin. To show the Canaanite woman and her daughter mercy, was to show mercy to an arch enemy. However, Jesus showed that the real enemy was the devil who held her daughter in bondage. Her response showed that she rightly believed that there was always hope for those outside the covenant community – and thus Jesus focuses on her faith (vv. 27-28).