But he answered her not a word.
There is something very remarkable in this silence of Christ. Usually He was quick to hear every request made to Him by a sufferer. Scarcely ever had any one to ask twice for a favour. His heart was sensitive, as is a mother’s heart to her child’s cries, and instantly responded to every petition for help. Yet now He stood and listened to this woman’s piteous pleading and answered her not a word. Like a miser with hoards of gold, at whose gates the poor and suffering knock, but who, hearing their cries of need and distress, keeps his gates locked and is deaf to every entreaty, so Jesus stood unmoved by this woman’s cries, though He had all power in His hands.
Why was He thus silent? It was not because He could not help her, for His arm was never weak. The best of us have our weak hours, our days of emptiness, when we have nothing wherewith to help; but His fullness was never exhausted. It was not because He was so engrossed in His own approaching sorrows that He could think of no other one’s sorrow, for even on the cross He forgot Himself to show kindness to others. Evidently the reason for silence was to try this mother’s faith, and to draw it out into still greater strength. He was preparing her to receive in the end a better blessing than she could have received at the beginning.
Our Lord sometimes yet seems to be silent to His people when they cry to Him. To all their earnest supplications He answers not a word. Is His silence a refusal? By no means. Ofttimes, at least, it is meant only to make the suppliants more earnest, and to prepare their hearts to receive richer and greater blessings. So when Christ is silent to our prayers, it is that we may be brought down in deeper humility at His feet, and that our hearts may be made more fit to receive heaven’s gifts and blessings.