24 And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.
25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:
26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.
29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.
21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
22 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.
23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Those two passages are the works of Christ according to two of His disciples. This account only appears in these two books and is a living parable of the purpose of Christ coming to save the Jews and extending grace to the Gentiles also. The gentile woman, a Greek, comes to Jesus with a need, (her daughter is possessed with devils). Jesus replies in a way that we wouldn’t expect; He is always seems as all love and affability, of the most pleasant countenance with an inability to be anything but optimistic and reserved. Jesus wasn’t one of the Care Bears. He preached the kingdom of God and righteousness. He ransacked the temple, destroying booths and stalls and chasing the vendors out with a whip.
He was a human. Here we see Him being a little short with a woman, sarcastic, even blunt and rough. Romans referred to Jews as dogs, often Jews would refer to the Gentiles, (which included the Romans), dogs. Jesus calls this woman a dog in verse 27 of Mark and 26 of Matthew. She is a Gentile, a Greek, she is from Tyre and Sidon, (you know my stance on the ancient city of Tyre which I detail in my series on “The Island of Mystery”), things are not looking well for her; she isn’t exactly the height of cultural status, but to be called a dog: by Jesus no less!
But He wasn’t just throwing insults, He was exploiting the malice and judgment of the self-righteous Jews towards the lowly Gentiles. He was also challenging her faith. Who did she think she was to approach Him? Didn’t she know He came to save and heal His people? Yet she tells Him that she is satisfied with the crumbs, humbling herself to the position of a dog, a mongrel. This is faith that Jesus can provide and that there is enough power in Him to overflow and reach even unto the Gentiles. The faith of this woman was what saved her child, but Jesus lowers Himself to a reduction of becoming like a stereotypical, pious Jew of the day and calls the woman a dog to prove a point. What does the woman say? Yes, I’m a dog, but you’re the Master and you care for the dogs and the children alike.
Gentiles who came to Christ were dogs whereas Jews were long-lost, wayward children. It seems unfair that those who hungered and thirsted for Jesus the most were not even those He called His children, those He came to save. But the Jews refused His salvation and it was extended to the gentile also, that dogs might be partakers of the glory and hope of eternal life through salvation in Christ.
Just some thoughts on a very interesting passage. I’m interested to hear what all of you think about it. Leave me a comment with your opinions and thoughts.
As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist