Remember that story in the gospel of Matthew where this Canaanite woman asks Jesus to cure her daughter from a demon and he replies, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”. She persists and he replies, “…It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs….(matt 15:26)”
Reading that passage will get the wheels spinning. With this story in mind I’ve considered the story of the Samaritan woman at the well and other stories where he shows compassion for gentiles, and the Gospel in itself. So this story about him referring to this woman as a dog always threw me off. Did he actually directly call her a dog? I could be wrong, maybe he used the label, but I don’t believe so. Others have connected this story to the cultural label for Gentiles and this statement by Jesus to work as a test for both the Disciples and the Woman. That may very well be. However, I personally believe my Lord has never been one to be swayed to act in accordance with man’s religion or culture. So I’d like to consider that there may be more to this.
This morning I found myself reading the beatitudes in Matthew where he’s preaching to the crowd. I’ve heard it said that they call it the beatitudes because you’re not only supposed to do it, but be it. 🙂 So, there’s a point where He’s teaching the crowd not to judge. He illustrates using saw dust in the eye and planks which is awesome, see the connection between that and Joseph’s profession. But then he follows it up with this:
Matthew 7:6 Do not give dogs what is holy; do not throw your pearls before swine. If you do,they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.
I can’t help but see how similar this is to:
Matthew 15:26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
These words in the beatitudes were not directed toward gentiles, and they remain true even for us gentiles today. Perhaps the term “dog” is being used differently from what the culture assumes.
Proverbs 26:11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.
Long before the Canaanite woman, through Proverbs our God is sharing similarities between a “dog” and one who repeats their folly.
Then Peter comes along reminding us of this…
2 Peter 2:22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”
The sad truth is that many in the world will hear the gospel, push it aside and go back to worldly living, even in the event of a healing. Over and over some will do this. And we are to love them. However, time was limited for him, as well as for us, and we are to be a light unto to the world.
This story ends well. If anyone knew the heart of that woman, God who fully dwelled in Jesus knew. Yet, still as the woman heard his response, she humbly accepted the statement made and persisted in faith – Jesus commends her for her great faith and heals her daughter.
These are just some thoughts I wanted to share, I guess the thing we can take from this is to love everyone, spend your time wisely, take advantage of today – time is short.
Always know that Jesus is with you, always, to the very end of the age.