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A Mother's Faith




PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH

MATTHEW 15:21-28                              12 MAY 2024

 

As Mother's Day is a day set aside to honor our mothers, we want to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Mother's Day. Of course, we should honor our mothers every day, and hopefully, we do that consistently.

 

One truth that cannot be denied is that we all had a mother, or we wouldn't be here this morning. However, for some people, Mother's Day can be bittersweet for many different reasons. The sad truth is that it is possible for a woman to give birth to a child and never become a mother to the child.

 

Some of you may have or had a godly mother, whether she was your birth mother, foster mother, adopted mother, or someone else who loved you and helped raise you. It is important to note that there is no mention of a "Mother's Day" in the Bible – Old or New Testament. Until 1905, there was no official day set aside to honor mothers.

 

In 1905, Anna Jarvis of Grafton, West Virginia, began a campaign to make Mother's Day a nationally recognized holiday. President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation in 1914 designating the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor mothers. Therefore, may we invoke the LORD's blessing on all our wonderful mothers this morning with the words of Numbers 6:24-26 

"The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."

 

As we celebrate and honor our mothers this morning, we are reminded of this general truth from Proverbs 22:6 

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

That is perhaps the most important job God has given parents, but as we know and understand, it is often the mother who bears a larger share of that responsibility.

 

Charles Spurgeon offered some great advice on this passage when he said:

"Train up a child in the way he should go – but be sure you go that way yourself." It is so important for our mothers and fathers to be people of faith.

 

A good example of this is found in 2 Timothy 1:3-5. Paul writes there to Timothy:

"I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also."

 

What a great servant of the Lord Timothy turned out to be. Paul finds that Timothy's faith was passed on to him by his mother, Eunice, and her mother, Lois, who had passed it on to her. That is called generational faith, passed down from one generation to the next.

 

Preparing sermons for Mother's Day and Father's Day can be challenging. Many women mentioned in the Bible deserve the honor of recognizing their godly motherhood—Mary, Martha, Jochebed, Sarah, Rebekah, Hannah, Elizabeth, and others.

 

This morning, I want us to look at one mother's faith from scripture, which received the highest commendation possible. Turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew 15:21-28 as we look at a model for a mother's faith. This is a Mother's Day sermon that gives five characteristics of good mothers that are derived from the Canaanite woman who begged Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter.

 

Read Matthew 15:21-28.

Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.

 

Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. It is important to understand that Jesus had been in Gennesaret – a town on the northwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. He had been engaged in a dispute with scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem. They were more concerned with the traditions of men than with the commandments of God – and Jesus used one of their own traditions to show that they were failing to honor their fathers and mothers.

 

How appropriate is that context for a lesson this morning to honor our mothers! From this encounter, Jesus left for the region of Tyre and Sidon. These cities were 30-50 miles away in Phoenicia, and perhaps Jesus was trying to take a rest from Jewish opposition. While we do not know if Jesus traveled as far as these cities, we know He crossed over into Gentile territory.

 

Notice verse 22 of our text: And 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 occasion is also recorded in Mark 7:24-30. We are told that Jesus entered a house and didn't want anyone to know His whereabouts.

 

Jesus needed to get away from the crowds for some rest.

This passage highlights the story of a woman who exemplifies the characteristics of a good mother. The text highlights five characteristics of a good mother that we can learn from this woman's story.


The first characteristic is that she was COMFORTING.


As a mother, she was always there to comfort her daughter when she was hurt or ill. Even the Lord Himself is described as assuming the role of a mother as a comforter of His people. This woman must have hugged and kissed her daughter countless times during and after her daughter's struggles with demon possession. One can only imagine the heartache and despair that she must have felt watching her daughter suffer for years with no end in sight.

 

The second characteristic of a good mother that we can see in this woman is that she is CONCERNED.


She cared deeply and wanted what was best for her daughter. This may seem like an obvious trait of a good mother, but not all mothers prioritize the well-being of their children. For example, a pregnant woman using drugs is not concerned for her child, and a Christian mother who neglects to teach her daughter about modesty is not prioritizing her daughter's well-being. This woman was different; she was concerned for her daughter's health and well-being and was willing to seek help for her.

 

The third characteristic of a good mother that this woman possessed was COURAGE.


It took a lot of bravery for her to ask for help from a Jewish teacher when he wanted to be left alone. Like a mama bear, she was fearless. A good mother has to have a lot of courage to do many things, such as emptying the pockets of little boys, responding to cries for help not knowing what she'll find, and unloosening the apron strings when the time comes. This woman had the courage to seek help for her daughter, even when it meant approaching a stranger who was not interested in being disturbed.

 

The fourth characteristic of a good mother that this woman exhibited was COMMITMENT.


She was steadfast in her efforts to get help for her daughter, even when initially ignored by the Jewish teacher and his disciples. She was committed to getting help for her daughter and was persistent in her requests. Despite the rejection she faced, she remained committed to getting help for her daughter and even worshiped the teacher to show her dedication to him.

 

The fifth characteristic of a good mother is being COMMENDED.


Jesus commended this woman for her great faith, which is a significant achievement since Jesus only commended one other person for their great faith. This person was also a Gentile, the centurion whose servant was healed in Matthew 8:5-13.

 

It is noteworthy that good mothers are to be commended for being good mothers. Proverbs 31:28 states that her children will rise up and call her blessed, and her husband will also praise her. In fact, all the characteristics of a good mother, including comfort, concern, courage, commitment, and commendation, can be found in the description of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.

 

To add to the list of characteristics, a good mother also reflects her faith in Christ. If she believes in the truth of the Gospel, which is that Jesus lived, died, and rose again to life, and has recognized sin in her life and repented of it, accepting Jesus Christ as her Lord, and submitting to the command to be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of that sin, she will begin the new life of being not only a child of God but also a mother whose children will rise and call her blessed.

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