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Dogs get scraps under the table

Jesus had been pretty busy. He took a trip to a new area thinking he could get away for a while. He entered a house there where he did not think he would be found, but he couldn’t escape notice.

She asked Jesus to cure her daughter. While not a part of the in crowd, she believed in Jesus completely. She knew Jesus could heal her daughter. She was not to be deterred. She begged Jesus to help. So imagine her surprise at Jesus answer. “Stand in line” He says. Really? He says a few more things intended, on the surface, to discourage her.

She said, “Of course, Master. But don’t dogs under the table get scraps dropped by the children?” This impressed Jesus. He told her to go home and that her daughter was healed. Imagine impressing Jesus. What is the key? Don’t get discouraged. Keep asking. Believe that He really wants to help. Really believe that. Know that your turn is coming.

And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Master; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

English Standard Version. (2016). (Mark 7:24–30). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

This willingness to humble oneself is a key requirement for discipleship and something we disciples of Jesus have difficulty learning. We have trouble receiving the kingdom as “little children”.

  • She has no qualms about receiving the kingdom as a little dog. Like a dog, she will gobble down whatever is granted.
  • The woman does not get a crumb, but precisely what she has begged from Jesus.
  • When Jesus says that the demon has left her daughter, she does not insist that he go home with her to make doubly sure.
  • She goes in faith as she came in faith.
  • Mark concludes the scene by reporting that she goes home and finds the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

Her reply revealed that faith had triumphed. She did not deny the special place of the “children” (Jews) in God’s plan, nor did she want to usurp it. All she wanted were a few crumbs of blessing from the table; for, after all, “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). It must have rejoiced His heart when she took His very words and used them as a basis for her plea! She accepted her place, she believed His Word, and she persisted in her plea; and Jesus not only met her need but commended her for her faith.

It is significant that the two times in the Gospel record when Jesus commended “great faith,” He was responding to the faith of Gentiles and not Jews: this Syrophoenician woman and the Roman centurion (Matt. 8:5–13).

  • It is also worth noting that in both situations, Jesus healed at a distance, suggesting the spiritual distance between Jews and Gentiles at that time.
  • Finally, the people of Tyre and Sidon were not known for their faith, yet this woman dared to believe that Jesus could deliver her daughter.

The main thing: Great faith is faith that takes God at His Word and will not let go until God meets the need. Great faith can lay hold of even the slightest encouragement and turn it into a fulfilled promise. “Lord, increase our faith.”