A woman, whose daughter had an evil spirit in her, heard about Jesus and came to him at once and fell at his feet. The woman was a Gentile, born in the region of Phoenicia in Syria. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus answered, ‘Let us first feed the children. It isn’t right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’
‘Sir’, she answered, ‘even the dogs under the table eat the children’s leftovers!’
So Jesus said to her, ‘Because of that answer, go back home, where you will find that the demon has gone out of your daughter!’ (verses 25-29)
Read Mark 7:24-37
Jesus calls me a dog. Perhaps he calls you a dog too. The Jews in Jesus’ day had names for non-Jews, for Gentiles, just as we have less than complimentary names for certain races of people today. The Jews were God’s chosen people, God’s children. Those not chosen were called dogs, for that is how the Jews of Jesus’ day viewed the people who were not of their race.
The woman who came to Jesus was a dog too. We are told where she was born, and we are told she was a Gentile. Jesus gave her the opportunity to demonstrate to him and his followers what a deep faith she had. He teased her a little. Surely a loving tease, which has shown all the rest of us Gentile ‘dogs’ what love he has for us. For Jesus, a person’s racial origin was no barrier. May it never be for any of his followers either.
Father, forgive me for my pride in my blood line and my sin of despising others. Let the love of your Son Jesus change my outlook to one of acceptance. Amen.
by Ray Schulz, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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