Matthew 15: 21-23.”Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, Lord, Thous Son of David: my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.”
Tyre and Sidon are two coastal cities north of the Sea of Galilee, right on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The area has a most interesting history, and figures in Old Testament prophesy. You can find lots of information online. The important thing in this incident is that this area was Gentile. After Jesus went back to heaven, a church was established there and became a stopping place for the Apostle Paul.
In our story today, however, none of that has happened yet. I find it fascinating that this Gentile woman seemed to know Who Jesus was, and was ready to trust Him completely to heal her daughter.
When she approached Jesus, she called Him Lord, Thou Son of David. How did she know the Hebrew scriptures? Why did she recognize that Jesus was the fulfillment of prophesy? How was it that a woman of her time was so well-educated to begin with? It wasn’t the norm for a Gentile female to be versed in Hebrew scriptures. I would love to know her backstory. Someday, I will!
This woman of faith told Jesus that her daughter was grievously vexed with a devil. The meaning here is that she was miserably possessed and exercised by a demon. How that condition manifested we are not told, but it is clear that the girl was in great distress. I imagine, perhaps, what may have looked like an epileptic seizure; or convulsions, or maybe just throwing herself around, screaming, possibly spouting horrible words. I’ve never seen anyone that I know of possessed of a demon, and I hope I never do.
Jesus didn’t respond. Doesn’t that seem out of character for Him? Surely He could have at least acknowledged that she had spoken. I believe that Jesus was possibly both testing and demonstrating her faith, giving her time to address Him again.
In the meantime, the disciples showed their lack of compassion for a Gentile woman, asking Jesus to send her away because she was making a nuisance of herself. She was bothering them.