CHILDREN, CRUMBS, AND DOGS
Thank You, God, for the space I have been able to set aside today to be with You.
Read Mark 7:24–30
Jesus Honors a Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith
24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.[a] He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”
30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
a Mark 7:24 Many early manuscripts Tyre and Sidon
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWhen have you been desperate for God to act on your behalf?
Most parents have experienced the panic that strikes when a child is seriously ill, and can empathize with this desperate mother (25). Although a Gentile, and a woman, she has no hesitation in seeking out Jesus, the Jewish rabbi and healer.
His response to her plea for help is enigmatic, even harsh, but He is testing her resolve and faith. Through the homely illustration of a family meal, He reminds her that His mission is first and foremost to the Jews. (His use of the word “dogs” here (27) refers to family pets but is still a reminder of the disparaging attitude of many Jews towards the Gentiles.) Why should He help a Gentile? Is He prejudiced like the others? How will she react to such a setback?
The woman responds with faith and humility. She believes He is merciful and is willing for any scraps of mercy: “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs” (28). Here is real, persistent faith and it moves Jesus to commend her. As a Gentile, she too can believe. The Gospel is for all, regardless of race. The only criterion is faith. When she returns home, she finds her daughter well. The demon has gone.
How convinced are you of the mercy of God? How determined are you when it comes to asking help from God? Lay your requests before Him and earnestly seek His intervention – He cares for you.
I am so glad that You care for me, Heavenly Father; give me a tiny glimpse of how vast Your mercy and grace are.