September 8, 2018
Mark 7:24-30 …“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.’” vss. 26-27
There’s no getting around it. These are harsh words from Jesus and would have brought a storm of criticism from our contemporary press. In our world, no one would dream of implying that a woman asking for assistance was a dog. Yet that’s what Jesus did and commentators have bent over backwards to explain his words away. But Jesus doesn’t need our defense, his comments are completely in line with his mission and provide a vivid example of the tensions that existed between the Jews and their Gentile neighbors. He really was intentional in reaching out to the Jews–he was their messiah. But the woman wasn’t bound by prejudice and, for the sake of her child, challenges Jesus’s boundaries. Her witty rejoinder to his put-down touches his heart and he reaches across the cultural divide to bring healing to her home. In his action, Jesus anticipates the mission of Paul who devoted his life to bringing the gospel to the Gentiles. How good it is when we can escape the strictures of our narrow interpretations of God’s love and act to extend it to all who need good news in their lives. In God’s kingdom surprises abound, and ALL people are the beneficiaries!
Thought for the Day: Why does the woman persevere?