Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.’ (Mark 7:26-29)
Jesus was tired and wanted to rest. He quietly entered a house and hoped no one found out where He was staying.
Somehow, though, the mother of a daughter with a demon finds him. The woman was a Gentile. She went to Jesus and begged Him to heal her daughter. Does Jesus immediately forget His need for rest and act with compassion?
No. Instead, His response sounded rejecting and insulting: “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to throw it to the dogs.”
The children are the Jews and Jesus is saying that He has come first for them. The dogs are the Gentiles and Jesus is suggesting that after the Jews are fed, the Gentiles may get the leftovers. Obviously, there’s little hope for this woman, her daughter, and the Gentiles.
Is this woman deterred? Hardly. This is a mother with a sick child, and a few insults aren’t going to discourage her. She retorts: “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
At that moment, Jesus no longer saw this woman as a Gentile, but simply as a mother who desperately wanted her daughter to be healed. After that mother had touched the deepest part of His heart, Jesus reached out and touched her deepest need—healing for her daughter.
Although it seems like Jesus may have lost the argument, it also seems like He gained a new perspective on His mission. From this point forward, Jesus never again limited or had a two-tiered approach to His outreach, love, or mercy.
If Jesus could change His perspective, I encourage us to consider how our own minds and hearts may need to be changed. Because Jesus expanded His outreach to include all people as God’s children, pray that we may never do otherwise.
- Have you ever changed your perspective on who Jesus is, how Jesus works, or how you think you need to live out your Christian life?
- Could Jesus be calling you to change your perspective or mind or heart or positions?
- It would appear that Jesus expanded His outreach to include all people as God’s children in today’s story. Do you need to expand your own notion about who God’s children might be?