Jeremy Stopford photo
Jeremy Stopford

A MOTHER, A DAUGHTER, & JESUS” (Matthew 15:21-28)

Originally preached Mother’s Day May 11, 2014

Retired Pastor Jeremy Stopford

TODAY’S “SPECIAL”: “A Mom Funny”

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?”

Her mother replied, “Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.”

The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, “Momma, how come ALL of grandma’s hairs are white?”


We will call our text as taking place on “Mother’s Day” – as a mother is mentioned here! Jesus just left “that place” – probably the outskirts of Jerusalem (v. 1) and headed to the area of Tyre and Sidon. He meets a woman, an unnamed mother whose daughter needs help. How does He respond to this needy woman? The lessons should affect us all for the rest of our lives! PRAYER


Tyre and Sidon together, cities of the Philistines, on the coast north of Israel, were longtime enemies of the Jews. In Ezekiel 28 is given one of the most blistering messages ever delivered against a city, much less against a king, identifying him as an instrument of Satan (if not Satan himself). In Genesis 10:15,19 Sidon is identified as a city of the descendants of Cain

The Savior is interrupted in His teachings by a plea from a lady identified only as a “Canaanite woman”, i.e., a woman from Canaan or the Canaan areas. We know this is the area and the people that the Israelites were to wipe out when they crossed the Jordan (How deep was the Jewish hatred for them: Note the lessons of Jacob and Esau (Gen. 28:1-3,6))

Jesus is in the enemy’s territory! In this realm of hatred comes to Him a woman identified as being from that region.


1. Her deafening plea: she obviously had heard of Jesus, identifying Him as Lord [God!], Son of David [Messiah!], possessor of mercy. Her insights crossed religious borders. But in front of His disciples, was Jesus going to cross those borders, too?

2. Her description of her daughter: no name, demon-possessed, suffering terribly – the very description the Jews have forever given to non-Jews – she admitted was the condition of her daughter [and is the description of all people, Eph. 2:1-3]

3. His disciples’ response: “send her away, she is a bother, an interruption, an irritation to us and our

love for You, our walk with You, our service for You! Send her away!”

Someone once wisely observed: “People are not irritations to ministry. People ARE ministry.” The disciples hadn’t learned that yet!

4. The Lord Jesus response: Silence. Why? He answers His disciples: “I’m sent only to the lost of

Israel.” For 2500 years, that seemed to be the only mission the Jews remembered. He was confronting them with an age old prejudice. But they had forgotten their own Scriptures.

Note Isaiah 49:6, “Indeed He says,‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

Simeon quotes this at Jesus’ birth. And Paul quotes it twice in the book of Acts as referring to the Lord Jesus! Jesus’ response was to teach eternal truth to those He was mentoring – and to us – to see people as He does!


A “devoted” plea – this was a plea of worship – she got on her knee and publicly worshipped Jesus! Her devotion was to Him alone! Do you think that could have been said of those disciples with Jesus? Or of us?

Paul said told the Romans that he prayed for them “without ceasing”. He told Timothy that he prayed for him “without ceasing.” He advised the believers at Thessalonica to “pray without ceasing.” She doesn’t give up on her daughter, or on the Savior!

The Savior’s reply: “the bread of the children (Israel) is not to go to the dogs (Gentiles).” He was reminding her – and in particularly the listening disciples – of the long-time understanding of God’s supposed care for people.

QUICK QUESTION – is that ours? Is there ANYONE that you purposefully believe is not worthy of the grace of God? ANYONE?


Verse 27 shows where her true dependence lay: she was identified as an enemy, but her heart was in His territory. She belonged to Him.

Verse 28 His moving reply: He identifies her as a woman of faith!

“You have GREAT faith!” The Message: “your faith is something else”

The subsequent action is almost spontaneous and quick:

(1) The silent Savior speaks to her

(2) The rejected woman is acknowledged

(3) The request is granted

(4) The daughter was healed instantly


#1 “I have met the enemy and the enemy is us” – are you willing to step in the enemy’s territory to make an impact for eternity?

#2 The disciples wanted the enemy’s woman – a mother of faith – to be sent away: “she is an irritant, a bother to our love for Jesus.” Who do we send away with our disciple-like lack of spiritual eyes?

#3 The Lord Jesus identified her as a mother of great faith. To our mothers today, would He say that of you? To all of us, would He quickly say that we are people of great faith?

#4 The unnamed mother never gave up on behalf of her stricken daughter. When people are indifferent and even in opposition to the gospel we love, do we give up on them?


“The knowledge that God has loved me beyond all limits will compel me to go into the world to love others in the same way. I may get irritated because I have to live with an unusually difficult person. But just think how disagreeable I have been with God! Am I prepared to be identified so closely with the Lord Jesus that His life and His sweetness will be continually poured out through Me? Neither natural love nor God’s divine love will remain and grow in me unless it is nurtured.” OSWALD CHAMBERS