Matthew 15:21-25

Mat 15:21 (KJB)
Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

Since the opposition to Jesus was starting to grow, He apparently had withdrawn to the major ports of Tyre and Sidon which were in the land of Phoenicia which was northwest of Galilee. The two cities were about 18 miles (29 km) apart. Tyre was destroyed by the Babylonians but was rebuilt and captured by Alexander the Great. Other than Jesus being in Egypt as a child, this was His only trip outside the borders of Israel. Until the time of Jesus, Tyre was a very important center of trade.

Mat 15:22 (KJB)
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

Since this area was previously inhabited by Canaanites, this woman is called a woman of Canaan. She must have known who Jesus was and that He was the promised Messiah because she called Him by a messianic title, “son of David.” There was great animosity between the Jews and the Canaanites but she knew exactly who He was, probably from the stories she heard about Jesus delivering people from possession by devils. She also calls Him “O Lord” which was His title of deity. She was coming to Him to have mercy on her since her daughter was vexed with a devil. No doubt because of that possession, her house was probably dangerous to live in and was probably threatening her health with all the evil activity this devil had created.

Mat 15:23 (KJB)
But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

At this point Jesus did not answer her and the disciples probably thought that she was just plain annoying and wanted her to leave them since they were trying to have some time alone with Jesus. Jesus was not ignoring her but was testing her to see if she would continue to pursue Him in faith. The disciples did not want her to go away without her request being filled but she continued to cry after them. The word for “crieth” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “scream or call out.” This woman was desperate and knew that Jesus was her only cure.

Mat 15:24 (KJB)
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Jesus tells her that He was to go only to the lost sheep of Israel and that the Gentiles would come in later. His mission was to physical Israel first. (John 1:11 KJV) He came unto his own, and his own received him not. Later on the name Israel came to include all the Gentiles who would be saved. In fact, the name of the body of believers would be called Israel. The name Israel means “prince with God.” (Rom 11:25-26 KJV) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. {26} And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

Mat 15:25 (KJB)
Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

This woman was tremendously importunate as the answer from Jesus did not discourage her in any way. She once again proved her contriteness as she came and worshipped Jesus, once again calling Him Lord and beseeching Him for help. Theology made no difference to her being from Phoenicia where there were many false gods. She was concerned about one thing and that was the fact that she knew that Jesus was able to help her and her faith was so strong that she believed she would not be denied.