Matthew 15:21-28


Intro: Does anybody in this room have a need in your life? I suspect that everyone under the sound of my voice has many needs.  In fact, I would go a step farther and say that most people in this room today have one or more major needs in their lives and they do not see how that need can be met.

Some people are looking at devastating family problems.  Some are looking at financial difficulty.  Some are looking at a problem with a child.  Some are looking at their own souls and realizing that they are lost.  Some looking at disease and wondering what lies ahead.  Some are looking at their parents and realizing they won’t be here forever.  I could literally stand here all day and not exhaust the list of problems that people are facing today.

In the midst of your problems, you need someone to help you.  You need someone you can turn to for your solution.  You need God to work in your life.  You don’t need Him to lift every burden, just the heaviest.  You don’t need Him to move every mountain, just the highest.  You don’t need God to give you the whole loaf, just a crumb.

That is the situation we are looking at in this passage today.  Jesus is approached by a mother who is in a desperate situation.  She needs something in her life.  She comes to the Lord and as she does, she is not asking for the whole loaf, she is just asking for a crumb.  She knows that a little crumb is better than nothing.

As I preach this text today, I want you to get something from it.  I want you to know that there is hope for your situation today.  No matter what it is you think you need today, God holds the key to it.  I want to take this text and the plight of this poor woman and share a few thoughts that teach us that A Crumb From His Hand Is More Than Enough.  Let’s examine this passage together and find the help we need for our own lives today.


  1. v. 22                     THIS WOMAN’S PETITION
  2. The Reason She Came – This woman came to Jesus because she was concerned about her daughter. The child was demon possessed and was probably acting out in violence and anger.  She needed help in a desperate way.
  3. The Reason She Cried – The word “cried” speaks of one “crying out, shouting after another.” This woman was following after Jesus and His disciples shouting to Him for the help she needed.  Why was she so frantic? She was heartbroken over the condition of her child and she was determined to get her child the help she needed.
  4. The Reason She Called – In recording this same event, Mark tells us in Mark 7:25 that this woman had “heard of Him”. Perhaps she had heard about how Jesus had healed all manner of diseases; about how He had opened the eyes of the blind and unstopped the ears of the deaf; about how He had driven the demons from other people.  She may have heard about how Jesus had gone over into the country of the Gaderenes and had delivered the man possessed by a legion of demons. She may have said, “If He can deliver that man from a legion of demons, surely He can deliver my daughter from the grip of one devil!

This woman came to Jesus because faith and hope had been sparked in her heart.  She needed something that society had not been able to provide.  She was looking for something that her dead religion had been powerless to give her.  She needed a solution that she had not been able to provide by her own self-efforts.  She was desperate and she saw Jesus as her only hope!


(Note: How many of you can identify with this poor, anxious mother?  Perhaps you are dealing with a child that is out of control.  Perhaps you are at your wits end over some situation in your life and you need help.  Perhaps you have exhausted every means at your disposal and do not know where to turn for help.  Maybe what you need is salvation.  Or, maybe what you need is restoration and forgiveness.  Whatever the need in your life may be today; you should take a lesson from this woman: Get that need to Jesus!

Regardless of what you face in your life today, the answer will be found in Him!  He can move your mountain; meet your need; save your soul; forgive your sins; touch your loved ones; you name it, He can do it! But, you have to get it to Him!  Don’t be afraid to call on Him; He invites you to come, Matt. 11:28; Isa. 55:1-3.  You do not have to bear this burden alone!  Bring it to Jesus, He cares, 1 Pet. 5:7; Heb. 4:15; and He can help, Heb. 4:16.)


  1. This Woman’s Petition


  1. v. 23-27            THIS WOMAN’S PERSISTENCE

(Ill. This woman comes to Jesus for help and when she doesn’t get the response she imagines, she stays after Jesus until she gets what she wants.)

  1. v. 23-27 The Obstacles Of Faith – To see that her need was met and her daughter was healed, this woman had to overcome many obstacles.  It seemed that she met resistance to her request at every turn.  Yet, she persisted until she achieved her goal.  Let’s examine the obstacles she faced and overcame by faith.
  2. She had to overcome RaceVerse 21 tells us that this woman was from Tyre and Sidon. Verse 22 adds that she was a Canaanite.  This tells us two things about this mother.  First, she was descended from a cursed people.  When Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan, they had been commanded to totally destroy the Canaanites, Deut. 7:2.  She was a member of a doomed race.  Second, she was from a region known for vile religious practices.  This woman had two strikes against her from the very start.
  3. She had to overcome Religion – She came to Jesus and called out to Him and said, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David”. Here she was a Gentile mother crying out to the Jewish Messiah.  She had no right to come to Jesus through the door of Judaism.  She was a Gentile and He gave her the response she deserved: “He answered her not a word,” verse 23.
  4. She had to overcome Racism – When the disciples see and hear this Gentile calling out to their Messiah, they react by telling Jesus to send her away! They wanted nothing to do with her.  She was not one of their people!  In their eyes, she was different and that was enough to justify them not caring about her at all.
  5. She had to overcome Rejection – As Jesus speaks to this woman, verses 23-26, His words appear harsh to our ears. His words must have shaken her to the very core of her being.  His words probably broke her heart.  First, he simply ignores her.  It is as if He turns an indifferent ear to her cries for help.  Then, He tells her that His whole purpose in coming to this world was to reach the lost sheep of Israel.  When she persists, Jesus tells her that she is a dog and does not deserve the children’s bread.  The disciples rejected her and now it appears that Jesus is rejecting her too.
  6. She had to overcome Reality – The realities of this situation are harsh! Her daughter was possessed by a devil.  She was a member of a doomed race.  These religion men did not seem to care about her or her situation at all.  It must have appeared to her that her situation was hopeless.


(Note: Some of you are looking at some of the same barriers today.  You might be a lost person and you know you need Jesus; but you feel like you have no right to come to Him.  You know you are from a doomed race.  You have discovered that religion will not work.  You have experienced the rejection of the religious people around you.  Yet, you still want to see your life changed.  Let me tell that you can come to Jesus!  If you do, He will not turn you away, John 6:37.

Others have been praying and seeking God about matters that trouble your heart.  You have cried out to Him and asked Him to do this or that in your life and there has been no answer.  You feel like giving up!  Let me encourage you today.  God’s silence is not an indication of God’s unwillingness to meet your need.  God’s silences serve to test our faith and to remind us that He operates on a different schedule that we do.

What obstacles are you facing today? Persist in seeking the Lord and in His time, you will see every barrier fall!  Your faith will not be defined by what you receive from God; but by what it takes to stop you from getting to God! What’s stopping you?)


  1. Mark 7:27 The Opportunities Of Faith – As Jesus speaks with this woman, He never slams the door of hope in her face.  In Mark’s account of this encounter, he records Jesus as saying, “Let the children first be filled…”  That word “first” was what this broken hearted mother needed to hear!  Jesus did not say, “You cannot have what you are looking for!”  He said, “I have come to the children of Israel. And, they must be filled first.”  She took that to mean that “seconds” were available.

You see, these obstacles that were thrown up by the Lord Jesus were not placed there to discourage and defeat this lady.  The obstacles were placed there to mature her faith.  Watch the progression.

  1. Verse 22 – She calls on Jesus based on His role as the Jewish Messiah. She receives no help there.  She has no right to approach Him on that ground.
  2. Verses 24-25 – She hears Jesus tell her that His mission here on this earth is to the nation of Israel. When she hears this, she moves beyond seeing Him as a Jewish Messiah.  She now sees Him as her only hope.  She sees Him as being worthy of worship.  In verse 24, she bows down to Him; humbles herself at His feet; gives Him the worship He deserves; and appeals to Him for the help she needs.
  3. Verse 26-27 – Now, she hears Jesus compare her to a dog. The Jews looked at all non-Jewish people as dogs.  The word they used refers to a “mangy, cur”.  It is used as a metaphor of people who are “unclean, filthy and dirty.”  Jesus used this word in Matt. 7:6.  The word used here is different.  This word means “little puppies”.  It refers not to mangy, dirty dogs; but to a dog that is a pet in a house; to an animal that is looked on as a part of the family.  I imagine that Jesus as a twinkle in His eye as He says this and she immediately catches the meaning.  She says, “Yes, it isn’t right to take the food from the children’s table and give it to the dogs.  But, even the dogs are often treated to a morsel from the table.  All I am asking for is a crumb.”  She wasn’t asking for everything, just for a dog’s portion!

Can you see how Jesus took this woman and her small faith and led her along and helped grow her faith? The obstacles of faith almost always turn out to be opportunities in disguise.  When we continue to seek the Lord in spite of every hindrance we will eventually see Him do what we need done.

  1. v. 27 The Obligations Of Faith – You know, a lot of people would have given up!  Jesus ignored her; the disciples played the race card; Jesus even compared her to a dog; yet she persisted.  Most folks would have thrown up their hands in frustration and stormed off in anger saying, “I don’t need this!  So much for your God of love; for your message of compassion and your narrow, bigoted religion!  I don’t want anything to do with a god or a religion like that!”  That is the way many react when they do not get what they want, when they want it.  But, not this woman!

She persisted in spite of everything that was thrown into her pathway.  Why? She persisted because too much was at stake!  Her little daughter needed to be delivered from her bondage.  Her family needed to be saved.  She needed help and she was determined to get it!  A crumb might have been all she could get; but she knew that a crumb from the hand of Jesus would be more than enough! She wouldn’t give up until she got what she needed!


(Note: How much does your problem mean to you?  Have you encountered some obstacles along the way that have made you throw up your hands and quit seeking God about the answer you need?  Have you looked at the hypocrisy and the apathy of the church and concluded that since God’s people don’t care, you won’t care either?  Have you decided that God can’t help you and Jesus can’t save your soul?

Friend, too much is at stake!  Be like this poor mother.  Keep bringing that need to Jesus until He answers.  Keep seeking His face until He responds.  Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking and in His time, He’ll hand you down a morsel of answered prayer!

Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”)


  1. This Woman’s Petition
  2. This Woman’s Persistence


III.  v. 28                        THIS WOMAN’S PRIZE

  1. Jesus Responded To Her Faith – He was amazed by the depth of her faith! Jesus had tested her faith with hard words and her faith had risen to the challenge!  Her faith exceeded that of the people he had come to save!  Here was a Gentile dog that had more faith than the Jewish scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and priests.  This kind of faith excites the Lord!
  2. Jesus Rewarded Her Faith – He rewarded her faith by giving her exactly what she asked for; He healed her daughter! Her faith was so strong that she didn’t ask for proof, but she took Jesus at His word and turned around and went home to her family.  What a blessing!  What a challenge!


(Note: I realize that some people in this very room are looking at situation and problems that are every bit as hard and as painful as that faced by this woman. I know that many of you have prayed and sought God about your situations and things remain the same.  I know that the devil and the flesh are whispering in your ear right now.  They are saying, “It’s no use!  God doesn’t care!  Go away and don’t bother Him with this anymore.  It’s never going to change.”  I know that some folks are discouraged and defeated and you wonder of there is any use or any help for you.

Take heart today, dear friends!  There is hope!  Today might be the day when the Master responds to your cries.  Today might be the day when you see that mountain moved in your life.  Today might be the day when you come to Him and call on Him to be saved.  Today might be the day when God speaks in your soul and says, “It’s going to be all right!  I’ve taken care of it.”  Today might be the day when His peace replaces your pain and you get the help you need.

Bring that need to Him again today.  Bring it with faith in your hear that He will hear you; that He will help you and He will fix it.  Bring it to Him and place it in His hands.  Watch Him take it and make it as it ought to be.  You say, “Preacher, you don’t understand how big my problem is.”  No I don’t, but He does!  Look with me for just a minute at what He can do.

  • Look, there’s Jairus. He places his daughter in the hand of Jesus and Jesus raises her from the dead.
  • Look, there is Lazarus, four days in the tomb. Mary and Martha place him in the hands of Jesus and Lazarus lives.
  • Look, there is a multitude that needs to be fed, but they have no food. A few loaves and fishes are placed in the hands of Jesus and suddenly everyone had more than enough.
  • Look, there are the disciples, in a boat, in a storm, in the middle of the lake, in the dead of night. They are afraid they are going to die.  They place themselves in the hand of Jesus and they arrive safely to the shore.
  • Look, there is a leper and he is healed.
  • Look, there is a blind man and he can see.
  • Look, there is a deaf man and he can hear.
  • Look, there is a crippled man and he can walk.
  • Look, there is a man possessed with a demon and he is freed.
  • Look, there is Jesus. He is hanging on a cross.  He is dead!  They take His body down and place it in the grave.  Look!  For three days there is nothing!  Hope is gone and it appears that evil has won.  But wait, look again, He lives!  He lives!
  • Oh friends, if He can do these things, and they are just a small sample of what He can do, then surely He can answer your prayers! Surely He can save your lost loved one.  Surely He can save your soul.  Surely He can forgive you and restore you to that place of fellowship.  Surely He can take whatever is wrong in your life and He can make it right.  Surely He can do that!)


Conc: A little crumb from the Lord’s table might be all you need today.  Others may need Him to drop the whole platter down for you.  I don’t know what you need or where you are today; but I know a God Who can meet you where you are and help you get what you need today.

  • Do you need to be saved?
  • Do you need a mountain moved in your life?
  • Do you need to be restored to faith and fellowship?
  • Do you need to see God moving in someone else’s life?

Regardless of what you need today, you can come to Jesus and you can get it.  Even if you have sought Him for it in the past and received no answer, today might be the day when He says, “Be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”  Has He spoken to you today?  Get to Him and get what you need from Him.