Then Jesus went from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Caanan came from that region and cried out to him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon possessed.” But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”
But he answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Then she came and worshipped him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
But he answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the masters table.”
Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire!” And her daughter was healed from that very hour (Mathew 15: 21-28.)
In Jewish culture, dogs were considered dirty animals that scavenged for food; they rummaged through garbage and fed off of the scraps that people refused to eat. The Jews commonly referred to non-Jews (gentiles) as dogs. Jesus identified the begging woman as a dog; he told her his priority was the lost Children of Israel. How did she react to being called a dog? She was not insulted nor did she turn away. The woman humbly persisted; she accepted being a dog, but refused to accept no from Jesus. He grants her desired request, and praises her for her faith. [Note: Jesus literally referred to himself as the “bread from heaven;” God provided his Son as a heavenly meal for His people. Many chose to eat what God had provided; many however rejected God’s super. Today, Christians who are not Jewish have been blessed to eat the crumbs (leftovers) that have fallen from His ‘table.’ Because Jesus was rejected by many Jews, God was gracious enough to allow anyone who was hungry to eat ‘The bread of life.’]
When I was a small child, we ate meals around a dining room table. Our dog, Brutis, was an overeager collie that waited in the wings for my mother to leave the room. My mother would ask us to eat all of our food, which we of course did not enjoy. When she left we whistled and lowered our plates. Brutis would come and lick the plates clean. By the time my mother returned, it appeared as though some of us had finished our meal. He was more than happy to eat what we had rejected; he enjoyed the food that was meant for us; he never once complained about get leftovers, or not being able to sit at the table.
Many people today believe that the Jewish people no longer matter. Many people have rejected them, just as many of their people have rejected Christ. Yet, the Jewish people are still important to God; they were a priority to Jesus, and they are still a priority to God today. Jesus Christ grew up in a Jewish home. John, Peter, Paul, and the rest of the writers of the New Testament were all Jewish. The first thing Paul did when he reached a new city was, he walked straight in to the synagogue and proclaimed the gospel to the Jewish people. Only after they had rejected the message did he reach out to the gentiles. Jesus himself made it clear that the 12 Jewish disciples would rule 12 thrones in the coming Kingdom. Does the idea of being ruled over by Jews upset you? If it does, there is some pride still left in you. But to those who are willing to humble themselves, and acknowledge their place, as the woman did in this scripture, you will receive what she received; the desires of your heart! (Note: Christians and Jews who believe in Christ are brothers, and have equal access to God today; we are one in Christ Jesus.)
“Lord Heavenly Father, we thank You for the Jewish people, and for Your plan in saving many of them through Your Son. We love them, because we love You. We desire that we might all, Jew and Gentile alike, accept Your message in humility, knowing that we do not deserve Your grace; we are but lowly dogs; but dogs who desire to be in a relationship with You. Please do not deny us Father. We love You, we thank You, and we praise You; and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you.