21Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
This second withdrawal followed mounting pressure and further rejection by Israel of Jesus’ Messiahship. This hinge passage demonstrates Jesus’ deliberate withdrawal of His offer to establish His kingdom in Israel in order to minister to the Gentiles. It foreshadows God’s plan for Gentiles.
Then Jesus went out from there [Gennesaret] and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon [southern Lebanon today].
Tyre and Sidon were northwest of the Sea of Galilee on the Mediterranean coast. These two cities were in Gentile territory. This is the only occasion when Jesus stepped outside Jewish territory. He may have gone to this region to get away from hostility in Israel. Sidon was the home of Jezebel (1 Kg 16:31). Tyre was about 35 miles from Galilee and Sidon about 60 miles.
And behold [sudden and remarkable incident], a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out [not wept] to Him,
A Phoenician woman asked Jesus to heal her daughter. This woman was of Canaanite stock, the ancient enemies of Israel. Although she came from roots of animosity toward Israel, she believed that Jesus could heal her daughter.
saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
Because her daughter was demon-possessed, the Phoenician woman sought hope in Israel’s Messiah. She even used the terms “Lord” and “Son of David.” To address Jesus as “Son of David” was not right for a Gentile; she did not have the prerogative of coming to Jesus on Jewish terms.
This woman requested “mercy” for herself and daughter. She probably worshiped Astarte who was a pagan god of the time. To come to Jesus, she had to ask for mercy for worshiping Astarte.
In God’s grace, He gives us mercy that we do not deserve.
Mercy is something undeserved; there is no was no merit on her part. There was nothing in her that gave her a right for her daughter to be healed. Mercy is something found in God. Mercy is grace in operation. The Bible uses mercy about 500 times in its various language forms.
Even in the giving of the law, God called Himself merciful (Ex 34:6-9). David wrote Psalm 51 after he committed adultery. He appealed to God’s mercy for forgiveness.
It is faith that applies God’s promises of mercy and forgiveness to our lives. Faith and repentance are connected to one another.
testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.Ac 20:21
Faith must have a proper object. Biblically, we cannot have faith in just anything and still operate on God’s principles. The modern idea of placing faith in faith is without justification in Scripture. A child who jumps off a roof into his father’s arms is exercising an act of faith in the father. A child who jumps off the roof without anyone there is acting in foolishness. We cannot say, “I believe in God,” without knowing who and what God is. Nor can we believe in Him without understanding and believing His promises. Believing in faith as the object of faith is to believe in nothing.