Year 2 Day 324
Read - Mark 7:27-28
Message - Alan Burke
I want you to imagine walking in to a hospital and seeing someone falling at the feet of what looks like a doctor, holding on, crying out, begging and pleading for them to do something with tears in their eyes. It is hard for any of us to look upon someone in that situation without feeling at least a twinge of emotion. Then imagine the doctor coming out with what you know is a racial slur you’d be in shock or at least I hope you’d be.
Well here we have this woman who was a Greek, she was not from among the people of God, she was born in Syro-Phoenicia, living in a godless pagan in Tyre and to the Religious leaders in Jesus day she would have been despised and considered unclean. Yet she comes to Jesus in her helplessness as her only hope and throws herself at his feet. What Jesus says to this desperate situation there in verse 28 on the face of it seems harsh and well it is, it also seems unsympathetic, but the response of the woman and then the subsequent casting out of the demon in her daughter tell us that there is something much more is going on here.
In relationships between Jews and Gentiles the word dog was uses as a derogatory term. What is said here though by Jesus is so scandalous, it would have been for many who heard it so offensive that they would have simply walked away from Jesus. But then that’s the whole message of the gospel, it is scandalous, we are sinners, who need a saviour, and people who are offended by what Jesus says will never understand the salvation he offers.
Well this woman before Jesus, on her knees begging him to work, she didn’t respond by saying “how dare you say that to me”, or “what an awful unloving thing to say”, or “how could you help all these other people and refuse to help me”. No this woman, she sees past it, because she understood that Jesus was not telling her to leave, rather he was making clear her helplessness and unworthiness.
This woman had come recognising her helplessness, her plight, she recognises that Jesus alone could help her. This response of the woman, does not make demands of Jesus, she doesn’t contest her status as a “dog” rather she points to the reality of what happened in those jewish households that included dogs. She understood what Jesus was saying that for many their willingness to be offended would have prevented them.
Look at her answer, “Yes Lord”, she comes in submission, and then says “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” This woman had heard the words of Jesus, and she understood the spiritual reality of what he was teaching by this parable, she wasn’t offended by his words. This woman wasn’t expecting the entire meal, just wanting a few crumbs, in particular one crumb, one miracle to heal her daughter.
In this encounter the woman understood the what Jesus was teaching about the place of Jews and Gentiles in the kingdom of God. The children of verse 27 are the Jews, they were God’s covenant people, they would hear the good news of the kingdom first, they were the ones who would have the bread. For Jesus came to first that which was his own, but his own did not receive him (Jn 1:11).
Then those who are the dogs the Gentiles, that is us here, we have also become the recipients of God’s grace but it was first God’s plan and purpose to come to his own. This woman recognised the outworking of God’s plan, she did not ask for first place, she just wanted a crumb and in faith she believed that Jesus Christ was for her as well. God in His grace has brought to us salvation, first to the Jews then to the Gentiles so that all who will believe He gives the right to become Children of God (Jn 1:12.
Q80 What is required in the tenth commandment?
The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, (Heb. 13:5, 1 Tim. 6:6) with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbour, and all that is his. (Job 31:29, Rom. 12:15, 1 Tim. 1:5, 1 Cor. 13:4–7)