The Deliverance of a Canaanite Woman’s Daughter

21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A 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.” 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26He 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.” 28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour (Matthew 15:21-28).

Jesus did not respond to the woman’s petition for her daughter. When prayers that you pray are seemingly not heard, it is wise to persist. This woman persisted for her child. Even the disciples complained about her unceasing cries, heartlessly telling Jesus, in front of the woman, to send her away. Let’s get the picture clear in our minds of what was happening here. This woman came seeking help. The disciples moaned to Jesus about her in order to “send her away, for she keeps crying out after us” (verse 23). When the disciples showed no apparent desire to help her, she came to Jesus. I know it seems strange for our Lord, but Jesus didn’t say a word. Jesus finally spoke into the situation by telling her that His primary mission was to go first to the Jewish people.

Instead of going away, she came closer: The woman came and knelt before him” (v. 25). She would not be put off! She must have been even more deflated when Jesus told her that it was not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs (v. 26). I have to believe that there was a twinkle in His eye and a loving smile on His face when He said it because her response was one of great faith, which was surely what He was looking for. Faith honors and pleases God more than anything else (Hebrews 11:6). How delighted He was at her response! Her daughter’s deliverance and healing was given at that very instant. How often we don’t get what we want from Christ simply because we don’t persist in going beyond seeming barriers to what we need from the hand of God.

To what was Jesus referring when He talked about the “children’s bread?” (v. 26). Bread is a word that is used in Scripture to describe the staple food of the day. “Give us this day our daily bread” is what we pray in the Lord’s Prayer. Perhaps, if Jesus had been teaching the Lord’s Prayer to Asian people, He might have said, “Give us this day our daily rice.” How do we interpret what Jesus is saying to the woman? Surely, He is intimating that the supernatural works of power, deliverance, and healing is the staple bread of children of God. She wasn’t a child of God because she was not born an Israelite, although since the cross, any Gentile can become a child of God through faith in the finished work of Christ. The woman didn’t qualify for the blessings of the children’s bread, i.e. the staple food of being in covenant relationship to the King of Heaven.

If you are a child of God by faith in Christ, you do qualify for the children’s bread! You are under the covenant of God. The manifestation of the Spirit’s work is available to each blood-bought child of God. We have not because we ask not (James 4:2). If this woman, who was outside the family of faith, can appeal to the King of Kings for her need for the miraculous power of God to be manifest, how much more should the child of God ask and receive? The problem is not on God’s end. Demons shudder every time a child of God begins to pray, asking God to move in a supernatural way. When you begin to pray, all hell breaks loose to hinder your prayer life, but we must persist in prayer as the woman in the story did. Once a Christian really begins to see what power and authority is available to him, the demons and their deceptive game of keeping him believing that he has no power and authority is over. Power and authority over demons is our right as a child of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Keith Thomas

The Healing of the Blind Man, Bartimaeus.

35As Jesus was approaching Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. 36Now hearing a crowd going by, he began to inquire what this was. 37They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38And he called out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40And Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him; and when he came near, He questioned him, 41“What do you want Me to do for you?” And he said, “Lord, I want to regain my sight!” 42And Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God (Luke 18:35-43).

He must have heard testimony about Jesus at some time, because when he was told it was Jesus of Nazareth, his response was to call out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Notice that he called Him the Son of David, a title for the Messiah. Mark tells us that the blind man’s name was Bartimaeus. Faith and desperation rose up within him as he shouted out to Jesus. Some on the outskirts of the crowd could not hear the master teach over the beggar’s shouting, so they rebuked him and told him to be quiet, possibly because they thought he wanted money from Jesus. Bartimaeus could not be kept quiet by those around Christ. A different Greek word is used the second time he shouted, in verse 39 it is translated: “he shouted all the more,” the Greek word used is krazō, which means to scream or shriek.[1] The tense of the Greek brings out the fact that he kept on shouting and screaming. He would not shut up. The picture we get is of a man going crazy with emotion. There is desperation behind Bartimaeus’ voice. If there was ever a picture of one that sought Christ with all of his heart, this was it. Bartimaeus’ had this one opportunity and he was not going to let Jesus go by without doing all in his power to get his need met.

If you saw Jesus walking by today, would you scream your need? If not, what would hold you back? Whatever Jesus was teaching while walking, it was forgotten due to a persons need. Don’t ever think that Jesus does not have time for you in your need. He cares and will hear your cry if you will seek Him with all your heart. As people led him stumbling to Jesus, it was pretty obvious what his need was, so why did Jesus ask him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (v. 41).

Often Christ waits for us to put into words exactly what we want. He is looking to see how much of our heart is in what we desire Him to do for us. Fervency of heart is something that Bartimaeus had. The ability to call and not be put off by distractions, people, and things, is of the essence in a prayer life that is effective. Jesus found a man in great need and He would not pass by. When the man voiced his need to the Lord, the immediate words in response were: “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you” (v. 42).

It’s not faith in faith that healed Bartimaeus, it is faith in Christ. His faith was expressed not only through his actions by coming to Christ, but also by his ability to not be put off. There was a mixture of faith in his words, his acts, and his passion or fervency. All He waits for is your heart felt call, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Would you tell Him your need today? He hasn’t changed. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). What He did for Bartimaeus, He can do for you. When Jesus had finished saying the words, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you,” the blind man’s eyes were opened to see…The Savior of the World, Jesus, God in the flesh. Wouldn’t that be awesome! Imagine with me, many of us reading these words, will one day have eyes of flesh close for the last time, and spiritual eyes open to the same sight, the Lord Jesus Christ. We will gaze on His loveliness and majesty, and all the pain of this life will be gone. What an awesome day that will be! This is a shortened version of the more complete study 49, freely accessed by clicking here. Keith Thomas

[1] e.Sword.com

Your Faith Has Made You Well!

11Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.  17Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:11-19).

In this passage, we read about the kind of faith that God is pleased with. We’re not talking about faith in faith—that has nothing to please the Father. Faith in God and the One He has sent is what pleases the heart of God (John 6:29; Hebrews 11:6). Lepers, having a communicable disease, were commanded to stay at a distance outside the city and community and either ring a bell or cry out, “unclean, unclean,” when a person came near them (Leviticus 13:45-46). The only way that they could re-enter the community and social network inside the city was for them to receive the all-clean stamp of approval from the priest (Leviticus 14:2).

We are told in verse 12, that the ten lepers stood at a distance shouting to Christ to have pity on them. It’s interesting to see that Jesus required them to act upon His Word and do what a cured leper would do even though they were not healed yet. He asked them to take steps of faith and trust in His Word. He didn’t lay hands on them, even though He had healed lepers before by touching them (Luke 5:13). He didn’t give them much instruction as to why they were to go to the priest. He just told them to present themselves to the priest to get checked out. This required faith in His Word, because they were not yet healed. They were only healed as they were on the journey. It must have seemed illogical to them as they started on their journey, to go and get a healing certificate when their faces and limbs were contorted with Leprosy. Sometimes faith in God will seem illogical. One of them was a Samaritan, a person that the Jews did not normally associate with, although we find them together in their misery.

What do you think was on the mind of the Samaritan as he started on the way to the Temple? Don’t you think he might have been a little bit suspicious of Jesus? He knew Jesus was a Jew by His clothes. At what point did the miracle happen to him? Wonder of wonders! As they were on their journey of obedience, the miracle of healing happened! Imagine their surprise to find that, as they are walking, their fingers start to grow, their toes suddenly begin to fill their shoes, and they can feel the skin on their faces become soft and their noses growing out again! One of them, the Samaritan, was ecstatic with praise to God and could not contain himself. He left the company of the others for he had to find Jesus and thank Him. This man ran back and when he found Christ, he knew how to give thanks. He gave vent to his emotions as he shouted loudly to God. He approached Jesus and threw himself on the ground (Verse 16) lavishly shouting his praise. He acted according to His belief and trust in Jesus’ Word and he saw the power of God at work in his life as a result. How his thankfulness must have warmed the heart of the Lord! Let’s never forget to thank God for all He does for us.

Let me issue you a challenge: Think of a situation in your life which needs resolution, it may be an impossible thing to you, but dare to believe that God can work through your simple faith. Is anything too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:4). Call out to Him and ask Him for faith to believe that He will accomplish what you ask of Him. Then praise Him, loudly! Keith Thomas

The Great Faith of a Centurion

Only two times in all four Gospels did Jesus ever compliment people on their faith, and both times it was Gentiles (Non-Jews) who received His praise. The first is found in Matthew 15:28, when a Canaanite woman came to Jesus whose daughter was afflicted by a demon. Her words to Jesus expressed persevering faith. The second person recorded in the Gospels is found in Luke 7, the story of a Roman centurion whose servant was sick:

1When He had completed all His discourse in the hearing of the people, He went to Capernaum. 2And a centurion’s slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. 3When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. 4When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him; 5for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue.” 6Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; 7for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8“For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 9Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” 10When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health (Luke 7:1-10).

This servant had endeared himself to his master so much that, when the centurion saw his servant slipping away into death, he became desperate enough to spend his relational capital with the Jewish elders by asking them if they would mediate with Jesus to heal his servant. When the centurion heard that the Jewish elders had succeeded in their intercession with Jesus and that Christ was on His way to the house of the centurion, he sent another person to stop Him before Christ got to the house. His faith was expressed by his actions.

Faith Expressed by Action: We hear of Christ marveling or being amazed at the centurion’s faith in taking a risk by asking Jesus to just speak the Word of Healing. This man recognized that Jesus has authority on earth to heal sicknesses without coming under a Gentile’s roof. The centurion felt unworthy to have Jesus under his roof. He knew that it was forbidden for a Jew to enter the house of a Gentile and that to do so would make a Jew ceremonially unclean. Yes, it was risky for the centurion to stop Jesus on the way, but this tells us something of the faith that pleased the Lord. In his mind, his servant was worthy of being healed, but the centurion is considerate of Jesus and expresses faith in healing without Christ’s presence in his house. Faith expressed by action is God-pleasing. Let me give you an example:

It hadn’t rained in a long time, and things were getting desperate. The ministers decided that they were going to call a prayer meeting. They said, “Look, we want the whole town to come to the prayer meeting and bring their religious symbols.” So the whole town showed up for the prayer meeting and people brought crosses, they brought their Bibles, the Catholics brought their rosaries, and they all cried out to God. They finished the prayer meeting. No rain was in sight. They all went home. The next day, though, in the town square where they had the meeting, there was a little boy. “Oh, God, we need rain.” God, show your power, and give us rain.” The day before, with all the preachers and all the religious symbols, calling on God, no rain. The little boy shows up the next day by himself in the town square, and as he was praying, rumbling occurred. As he was praying, the shower hit, and it was pouring with rain. What was it about this little boy? He said the same things that all the people said the day before, but the day the young boy came, when the clouds got dark, he lifted up his symbol that he brought: an umbrella. He expected it to rain. When the weather man tells you on the news that it will rain the next day, we believe his word and most of us take our umbrellas. Why is it, when it comes to God, who is never wrong, we hesitate to believe His Word and act on it.[1]

Keith Thomas

[1] Tony Evans, Tony Evans Book of Illustrations, Printed by Moody Publishers, 2009, Page 98.

Jesus Heals a Royal Official’s Son

And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. 48“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” 49The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” 53Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed (John 4:46-53).

The royal official who lived in Capernaum had full expectation that Jesus could make his son well because he had heard all the stories of the miraculous signs in Jerusalem. The Greek word translated “royal official” is basilikos, meaning “kings man.” This is a person of high rank, a man who is one of Herod’s trusted officials. His rank means nothing now though—he was a man in need of his son’s healing. As he saw his son’s health declining, desperation, hope and faith in God began to rise when he heard of the works of Jesus, the miracles that Christ had been doing.

The Royal Official Had Four Growth Spurts to His Faith

 1) He believed enough to travel 19 miles to see Jesus. There is something about this royal official that is wonderful to consider. We are told that he lived in Capernaum on the edge of the Sea of Galilee with his son. It was quite a gamble he took because he could have used his time to go see the doctor. Instead he placed his faith in Christ and decided that if he went himself, he would plead with Jesus to travel the nineteen miles to Capernaum to lay His hands on his son. The five-hour walk to Cana, I’m sure, was a time of brokenness and heartache at the thought of losing his son. Had he made the right choice? What if Jesus was too busy? Can He do the things that they say He can do? Do I have enough time to go this far and for Jesus to get back in time? One wonders if the boy was already in a coma when the father left. The royal official was sure his boy was dying (v. 47).

2) He begged Jesus for His help. The words begged him to come, in verse 47, is in the imperfect tense, so it should be paraphrased that he kept on begging Him over and over again. This man would not let up; He put all of his hope in Jesus. He pled out of urgency and desperation. The very thought of losing his son was unbearable. This was a man who cared deeply, and he would do anything for his son to be better. Wouldn’t you? This man, dressed in his official garb, and quite desperate, drew even more of a crowd who wanted to see what was happening.

3) He believed Jesus’ word that his son would live. Jesus said to the man: “You may go; your son will live” (verse 53). If it had been me, I would have said, “What, no sign! No prayer! What is this? That’s not the way it’s supposed to happen! How can I know that what you say is true? Are you saying that I am just supposed to believe that the work of healing has been done without you coming and laying hands on him?”We are told that he didn’t get home until the next day. The miracle, he found out when he got home, happened at the seventh hour of the day before (verse 52), exactly at the time Jesus had said, “Your son will live” (verse 53).

4) He and his whole household believed. When he got home and saw his family, how much joy would have flooded his soul? No wonder his whole household believed when they found out that the very time Jesus told him to go home was the very time his son was healed. Isn’t the Lord amazing?

These thoughts were taken from the more complete study in the Book of John. Click on study 9. John 4:46-54. Keith Thomas