March 11, 2021
Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table" (Matthew 15:25-27).
Not being put off by Jesus’ comment, which was designed to be a test of her faith, this woman immediately bowed down before the Lord in humble submission to His authority and will. By saying, Lord, help me, the woman was persistent, believing that healing her daughter would be within the authority and will of Christ. Her request was basically the same as the leper that approached Jesus in Matthew 8:2 who said, Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean. How does one know the will of God unless we ask Him? We can’t. It is His desire that we ask Him, and in the asking He will reveal His will to us.
Jesus was not finished testing this woman’s faith. Test no. 3: willingness to humble ourselves before the Lord. Jesus said to the woman, It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs. Taken face value, this would have been seen as a slap in the face, but that’s because we are not familiar with the customs and culture of the day. People are critical of Jesus addressing His mother Mary at the wedding in Cana saying, Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come. The use of the term ‘Woman’ was a sign of respect, not disrespect.
There were two types of dogs in the days of Jesus, just as there are today. There were wild mongrels that roamed the streets eating garbage and other dead animals, spreading diseases, and destroying property. There were also domesticated dogs that were house pets. Two different Greek words were used to distinguish between the two. Jesus used the latter, referring to the woman as a house pet. However, common usage of the term ‘dog’ was extended by the Jews to Gentiles. All Gentiles were considered ‘dogs’ by the Jews. It was a term of disrespect base on the fact that Gentiles were considered unclean, pagan, and beyond the commonwealth and covenant of Israel.
This woman received the words of Jesus as an affirmation of her status. She did not ‘go off the rails’ like most people would. She didn’t commence a tirade against Jesus for the way she was being treated. She knew she was a sinful person and undeserving of the Lord’s favor. It was a humble response, not an indifferent one. In responding, Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table, the woman conceded that she was not on par with the Jews, and would settle for whatever consideration Jesus would give her. What faith indeed!
“Lord Jesus, may this woman’s example of faith and humility be a lesson for all of us who feel we deserve far more than we are worthy. Remind us daily that the power of our faith in You is accentuated by our humbleness before You - there is no regard for our petitions if motivated by pride and a sense of entitlement. May You be honored and praised by our faith today, Amen.”