Dogs and Children’s Crumbs
Mark 7:26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
Mark 7:27 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.”
Mark 7:28 But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
Mark 7:29 Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.”
Mark 7:30 So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
A woman stepped out on faith to address Jesus. Not only was she a woman, but she was not a Jew, and as such would have been completely out of place having a conversation with a Jewish rabbi. This reveals the depth of her faith. She had heard about this man and the miracles that were being accomplished and she was desperate to find help for her daughter. So great was her faith that she didn’t bring her daughter with her, but simply believed that she could ask the man to do this work and it would happen.
Jesus’ response may, at first glance, seem a bit odd, however, he is referring to his ministry to the Jews. He is explaining to this gentile woman that he had come to preach first to the Jews. Now the reference to the dogs is not a derogatory term because he’s not referring to wild bands of dogs, but the term actually refers to the beloved household pet — the one that gets to sit on your lap and run around the dinner table being fed by the children when parents aren’t looking. The woman understands that he is there to minister to the Jews but she is the one who reminds him that the beloved household pets get fed as well, thus foreshadowing a ministry beyond the Jews but one that reaches out to the Gentiles. It was an expression of her faith and understanding that he was not just bringing salvation to the Jews, but this would be the redemption of all humankind. Further, this miracle is the only one in Mark that is done from a distance.
Dogs and children’s crumbs are a promise of a powerful kingdom that reaches beyond the visible and reaches into a future that touches you and me.
Lord, may I have faith like this woman and trust in you. Amen.