Many of you have a dog/dogs, I know. Your dogs may be spoiled, but I know you love them and try to take good care of them always. Even though you know you shouldn’t do it, I bet some of your dogs get “people” food sometimes. They may eat “dogfood” mostly, but sometimes may have chicken, beef, or vegetables from your supper. Your dogs may even sit by your chair and beg which isn’t a good thing to let them do, we know. The dogs hope you will give them some scraps from your supper or will drop something on the floor they can get. Our Bible story today is about a non-Jewish woman who came to Jesus to ask Him for help for her child. The conversation ends up talking about scraps of food for a dog from the dinner table. (That was weird wasn’t it?) The lesson is from Matthew 15, Verses 21-28. I always thought these verses were a little hard to understand, but I will try to explain them, so they make sense.
Jesus Himself was a Jew, and He came to earth to first preach and teach the Jews. This was to fulfill the prophesy from the Old Testament. He loved all people, but His first priority was to His own people, God’s chosen people, the Jews, and to bring them to repentance. But when people saw Jesus healing the sick, they all began to follow Him wherever He went and ask for healing too. One day a non- Jewish woman from Canaan came to Jesus and asked Him to heal her daughter. Jesus didn’t heal the little girl at first. He explained to the woman that his first mission was to preach to the people of Israel – the Jewish people.
The woman refused to give up. She knelt down in front of Jesus and begged Him to help her little girl. Jesus replied, “God sent Me only to the lost people of Israel. It isn’t right for me to take food away from the children and feed it to dogs.” (I found this sort a strange thing for Jesus to say, don’t you? But I think, Jesus was trying to make a point and really not just calling the woman a dog.)
The woman answered Jesus and said, “Lord, that is true, but even the dogs get the crumbs that fall from their owner’s table.”
Jesus was so moved by this woman’s sincere faith that He said her daughter would be healed. Even though Jesus came first to the Jewish people, He loved us all so much that He shared His love with those of us who are not Jewish too. Our faith makes us believe in Jesus just like this woman did. Jesus sees our faith and grants us salvation no matter who we are or where we come from. We are sort of like the dog who begs and then thankfully takes the scraps that you give them or might fall from the table. We will also gladly and thankfully receive God’s “scraps” in our lives too. We know in our hearts that even Jesus’ scraps are more than this world could ever offer us.
Let’s say a prayer together. Father God, thank You for sharing Your Son with the whole world, so that through Him we might all be saved. We know now that You love everyone and want us all to be Your children. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.