As teenagers, it is crucial for you to have a deep and personal faith that is grounded in the truth of God’s Word. In Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28, we encounter a story that challenges us to grow in our faith and understand the power of persistence. This passage not only demonstrates the importance of having an unwavering faith but also teaches us about the inclusivity and boundless love of Jesus.
Bible Reading: Matthew 15:10-20
“Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.’ Then the disciples came to him and asked, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?’ He replied, ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.’ Peter said, ‘Explain the parable to us.’ ‘Are you still so dull?’ Jesus asked them. ‘Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.'”
In this passage, Jesus addresses the religious leaders who were focused on external rituals rather than the condition of their hearts. He emphasizes that true defilement comes from the evil thoughts and intentions that emerge from within a person. It’s a reminder that our words and actions reflect the state of our hearts.
Bible Reading: Matthew 15:21-28
“Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.’ Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’ The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said. He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.’ ‘Yes it is, Lord,’ she said. ‘Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed at that moment.”
In this encounter, we witness the power of persistent faith. Although the woman was initially met with silence and seemingly discouraging words from Jesus, she refused to give up. Her boldness, humility, and unwavering trust in Jesus led to her daughter’s healing. This story serves as an example for us to persevere in our prayers and trust that God hears us and responds according to His perfect timing and will.
- Why do you think Jesus initially ignored the Canaanite woman’s plea for help?
- How does this story challenge our understanding of who Jesus came to save?
- What can we learn from the Canaanite woman’s persistence and faith?
- Have you ever experienced a situation where you had to persistently trust in God despite discouragement? Share your experience.
Youth Group Game: “Faith Relay Race”
Divide the group into teams and set up a relay race course. Provide each team with a basket filled with objects representing different challenges or obstacles in life. Each team member takes turns racing to the finish line while navigating through the obstacles. The team that successfully completes the relay race first wins. This game encourages teamwork, perseverance, and reminds participants of the importance of faith in overcoming obstacles.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you for the story of the Canaanite woman, which demonstrates the power of persistent faith. Help us to trust in You wholeheartedly, even when faced with challenges and doubts. Strengthen our faith so that we may always turn to You for guidance and find comfort in Your boundless love. May we never tire of seeking Your will in all aspects of our lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Remember, dear teenagers, that God is with you every step of the way. Keep growing in your faith, and never hesitate to lean on Him in all circumstances. His love for you knows no bounds.