But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." - Mark 7:28
Jesus wanted to get away. He had traveled outside the borders of ancient Israel to have some well-deserved rest away from the press of the Galilean crowds. Now he was settling in for some rest with his disciples in a simple home on the rolling green hills in the Syrophoencian countryside. The house was only a day's journey from Tyre. Two days from Sidon. But far enough from both cities to afford some peace and quiet and the occasional eastward breeze from the Mare Nostrum.
But as the first day of rest was ending, the quiet peace was shattered by the wail of a woman. "Lord! Help me! Please, Lord!" The cries and wails of this unconsolable wretch shocked the disciples from their rest as if someone had dumped a bucket of cold water on the lot of them. Some were surprised that their hideout had been located. Other were annoyed that rest away from the needs of the multitudes had again eluded them.
Jesus sat up from reclining on the couch with a delightful bowl of dates. "Son of David! Have mercy on me! Please, I beg of you!" Just outside the doorway of the house, he saw her. She was on her knees in the dust. Her face was wet with tears and her eyes swollen with grief. Her dress and appearance instantly identified her as a local. "Please, Lord! Help me, I beg you! I beg you!" Her wails had drawn the disciple to the door. Some had their ears covered to soften the blow of the wails. Jesus was now standing in the doorway, beholding the crumpled figure before him. "Son of David! Hear me! Receive me!" She was Canaanite for sure, even though she was crying out in Aramaic. Jesus could tell it wasn't her native tongue. Without a word he turned from the doorway. "Lord! It's my daughter! My little baby girl!" she cried out, "She has a demon, Lord!" Jesus stood motionless but with his back to the desperate woman. "She has a demon! She is suffering, my Lord! They are destroying her! Only you can help her!" The disciples were stunned. "Lord" Andrew ventured, "What do you want us to do? Shall we send her away?" Peter's confusion overcame him. "Master," Peter asked, "Why do you not answer her?"
"Lord! Lord! I beg you! Have mercy on my daughter!" The woman's cries were deafening.
"The house of Israel," Jesus said. "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." The desperate mother cried out all the more. "Let us send her away, then" replied James. "If this is our mission, she is no daughter of Abraham." Jesus turned and his eyes met the eyes of James. He paused, as if to address James, but he stopped and turned to face the woman at the doorway.
"It is not right to take the children's bread and with it feed the dogs." With this, Jesus began to turn away again from the woman.
"Yes, Lord." replied the woman. "But even the little dogs under the table enjoy the crumbs that fall from the children."
For the first time since her arrival, a smile broke across the face of Jesus. Now the disciples were even more confused than before. "O woman," Jesus said "Great is your faith!" At this the woman caught her breath and rose to her feet. "Go home. You will find that your request has been granted!" With a shriek of joy, the woman bowed before Jesus and turned from the house and ran toward the road.
Jesus chuckled. He smiled as he looked into his men's baffled faces. "What faith, men! She gets it, doesn't she! Even the crumbs from the children! Even the crumbs..." Jesus walked back toward the couch where he had been reclining. His fingers groped for that bowl of dates he had started in on. Once more he turned toward his men who were still dumbstruck at the doorway. "Men, even the crumbs of the bread of life are enough for the little dogs! Beautiful, isn't it!" Then he sank down into the couch and with a smile took a bite of a rather large, plump date.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Gratitude is a grace from God that is transformative in the community of faith. Listen as Pastor Josh shares a special message on the power of gratitude that flows from the Gospel.
Pastor Josh and his wife Tracey planted GraceLife with a church-planting core in April of 2017.