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Free Workshop Rotation Model Lessons - Season 3

Children’s Sermon

Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus and the Syrophoenician Woman

August 20, 2017

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Lectionary Year A

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ASK    (a.k.a The On-Ramp)

  • Good morning!
  • I have a question for you: Have you ever heard the word, “Unexpected?”
  • In case you haven’t, something that is unexpected is something that is a surprise.
  • For example, let's say I came to the church building today and promptly locked my keys in the car -- that would be an unexpected moment (and thankfully didn't happen).
  • Or, maybe you might be planning to do something outside on this sunny day, but if it rained once you got outside, that would be unexpected.

TELL    (a.k.a. The Freeway)

  • I wanted to share this word of "unexpected" with you because in today's scripture story, Jesus does some things I think most of us find to be unexpected.
  • The story begins with a woman asking Jesus to heal her daughter.
  • Instead of saying "Yes" or "No," Jesus ignores her, which is the first unexpected thing that he does.
  • Then, when she keeps asking him for help, he tells her that he can't be bothered with her request because there are other people he is supposed to help.
  • This is a very unexpected thing for Jesus to say. And, most likely, the woman did not expect this response from Jesus, either.
  • But, the woman does not give up. Instead, she gives Jesus reasons why he should help her.
  • And you know what? Jesus decides he does want to help her. He changes his mind and heals the woman's daughter.

SHARE the Good News   (a.k.a. The Destination)

  • What I appreciate about this story is that the woman doesn't give up.
  • It doesn't matter what unexpected things happen, she just keeps asking for help.
  • And eventually that help is offered to her.
  • I think this story is told because it helps us think about what happens when we ask God for help.
  • When we bring things to God in prayer, a lot of unexpected ideas and understandings and events can happen.
  • Those unexpected things, because they are unexpected, might make us feel like God isn’t going to help us and that we should just quit asking God for help.
  • But what we see in today’s story is a reminder that when unexpected things happen, that we should keep asking for help, keep praying to God.
  • When we do that, when we keep asking for help, just like the woman keeps asking for help, then we are more likely to receive unexpected answers to our prayers.
  • And that's the good news for today.


  • Let’s pray.  This is a repeat-after-me prayer.

Dear God,
Dear God,

Thank you for Jesus…

Thank you for Jesus…

…who reminds us…

…who reminds us…

…that not all prayers…

…that not all prayers…

…are answered in expected ways.

…are answered in expected ways.


Originally posted August 14, 2017
Written and edited by Nathanael Vissia

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