“Have mercy on me, O Lord” (15:22). As the conflicts between the Pharisees and Jesus increased over ritual “defilement” and “signs from heaven,” the real nature of faith was revealed. The Canaanite woman demonstrated our basic, simple need for God. And Peter’s declaration teaches us that faith receives Jesus as “Christ, Son of the living God.”
Faith is not the self-perfection or external religiosity of the Pharisees but instead a daring belief that Jesus is all he claims to be. For his sake, we give up all other attempts at salvation and we “deny ourselves” and “follow” him.