Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why Such Harsh Words, Jesus?

Credit:   Beagle Pup by Bobby Mikul

A Gentile Shows Her Faith

21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
23 But He answered her not a word.
And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”
24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:21-28 NKJV)

I know when I first read this passage above I was confused. However, what I first took as a harsh statement, it fact was not. God shares with us a beautiful picture of something most important in all of our lives, which is a humble faith. 

Do you know people, or have spoken with someone who has said the sinners prayer many times over, yet they still are not saved? I have. We wonder why this is. Does not the Bible say, "all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved?" So what is going on here? Well, I would like to propose one thing. Could it be often times we are coming to God on our own terms, and not His? At first this woman comes to the Lord saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!" Was she coming to Him in a way she should not? Let me explain. God's plan of salvation was that through the Jew's, salvation would come to the world. Remember God's promise to Abraham, "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:18 NKJV) Also remember the Apostle Paul saying, "...for the Jew first, and also the Greek." (See Romans 1:16) It was God's plan to give the message of salvation to the Jew's first, and they would take it to the world. When the woman came to the Lord saying, "O Lord, Son of David," she was speaking as a Jew. It would be like me going to my friends father saying, "Dad, give me $10." His son could go to him calling him dad, but I could not. If I came to him properly, he may be pleased to give me the money. Today Jesus give all who believe upon His name the right to become children of God. (See John 1:12) But until we are a child of God, we cannot come to Him as though we are. It is important to note that Jesus did not close the door to this woman and her daughters healing, but opened it. In the corresponding passage in Mark we read; “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” Notice, "let the children be filled FIRST." He was not saying the gentiles could not be filled, because it was God's plan that salvation go out to the world. Remember, salvation comes to the world through the Jews.

It is also important to note that when He is speaking of "little dog's," He is not speaking in negative terms. Often times one may misread this thinking "scavenger dogs." Being called a "dog" is not always bad. Think of sayings such as, "every DOG has his day." I believe here Jesus is referring to a family pet. I remember when I was dating the woman who became my wife, sometimes I would go to her house for dinner. Her roommate had a little chihuahua for a pet. We loved this little dog. As we set at the dinner table, this little dog would come to the table begging for food. We were happy to share a little with her. See, this little dog had no right to our food, nor set at our table and eat. But we were most happy in sharing our food with her. This little dog was also thrilled to receive our crumbs.

In this is a beautiful picture of humility which the woman picked up on. Often times we come to the Lord thinking He owes us. Because He is good, He has to give to me. I have spoken to many people who say, "God would not throw someone like me into hell." See, God is God and He is holy. I am a sinner. We all are sinners. If God gave us what we deserve, we would be cast in hell. When we come to God and beg for His mercy humbly with nothing to offer, He hears us and is pleased to be merciful toward us. All we can do is cry out to God begging for His mercy.

13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:13-14 NKJV)

Let me ask you of this,"Are you willing to take just the crumbs from the masters table and be satisfied?" This is the kind of faith which brings salvation. Could this be why so many who profess to believe in Jesus, yet are not saved? They have not humbled themselves before the Lord. I am a firm believer that our pride is the number one reason which keeps people from receiving salvation. Also, could it by why us believers are not receiving all the blessings the Lord would love to give us?

A couple of quick points for us believers. If you are praying for someones salvation, keep praying. This woman was persistent and  the Lord answered her prayer. If you have a loved one who is sick and your prayers do not bring healing and their end has come, take the humble position. Instead of being mad at God, be thankful for the time He has blessed you with to spend with this loved one. It is sad, but we all have a time of departing. If we humble ourselves before the Lord during this, He will go through the grieving process with us, comfort us and give us healing. But if we exalt ourselves, we will bring much distress upon ourselves.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”

And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:1-5 NKJV)


  1. A very interesting and insightful post, Ken. I found it very informative, and I appreciate the research that you did to point out all the nuances of that particular passage of Scripture. It made me feel more *comfortable* with it.

    I love that photo!! I just did a post yesterday (2/4) about my son's beagle. I love dogs, and I love the lessons they teach us about God.


    1. Thank you Sharon, I appreciate your comment very much. This is one of those tough passages to understand, but an awesome blessing diving into in order to understand what God is communicating with us. May God bless you,

  2. I have always loved this story Ken! I think that we sometimes become so preoccupied with being "spiritually perfect" that we become oblivious and show no compassion to the needs that surround us. It warms my heart how she agreed to be considered a dog as long as she could receive God's blessing! What an amazing story of faith and humility!

    Blessings sweet friend of mine!

    1. Denise, yes it is a wonderful story once one comes to understand what God is communicating with us. It is an awesome story of one woman's persistent and humble faith. Blessings to you also, my dear friend.

  3. Ken, thank you for explaining this passage so well.

    1. Dee, you are welcome and may God bless you.

  4. Hi Ken,
    Good insight!! I agree that the salvation prayer is not lip service but heart service and it is very humbling.

    It can be hurtful and humiliating knowing the Gentiles are not God's 'chosen' people. The Jews are and because of God's love we are too. Abraham is our father just as much as he is the father of the Jews. One thing I have noticed over and over again in Scripture is it is the Gentiles who have the greater faith. What I love about this story is this woman is from Canaan yet she believes who Jesus is, yet the Jewish people who should know Jesus do not. The fact that Jesus chastises her does not deter her one bit but she defends herself in such a way that shows she knows what she can and cannot ask of the Son of God.

    Thanks for sharing this Ken. It is such a good story to think on and to remind us that we are to be humble yet press in for what we know is ours for the asking, just like a sweet little dog silently begging for a scrap of food.


  5. Thank you Child of God for your comment and your insights. I was reading this morning from Romans where it says "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him." In light of the fact that the Jew's are God's chosen people, how is it that these two are reconciled? The way I see it, like I live in Arizona, so I am an Arizonan. Someone else may live in California, so they are a Californian. But both are American. Every human being was created in the image of God and we all are descendants of Adam and Eve. Our great great great...ancestors also got off of Noah's Ark. So every human being is valuable in God's eyes. If anyone ever doubts God's love for all people, they need only look at the cross. The Jew's have been called to be God's representative here on earth. Through them, people would know that God is the Lord. If they obeyed God, they would be blessed and prosper. If they did not obey the commandments of God, they would pay the consequences. Jew or Gentile, Jesus is in the business of saving souls. If someone is not in Christ Jesus, (Jew or Gentile) they are His enemy. But anyone who is in Christ Jesus, (Jew or Gentile) they are His. While the Jews have denied their Messiah, God is not through with them. I believe their will be a time when they do realize that Jesus is, in fact the Messiah,and they come to faith in Him. Today, we see many Jews coming to faith in Christ. Praise God.

    Yes, this is a wonderful story. The more I understand what God is teaching, the better it gets. God bless

  6. Hi Ken,
    I like to think of of the crumbs as the 'Jesus' that those who do not know Him might see in us as we evangelize or mix with unbelievers. Outsiders do not eat at the Master's table until they become believers themselves, but it is God's drawing outsiders to Jesus through Christians' witnessing and the planting of the seeds of the gospel that builds their faith and causes outsiders to come to Jesus. Those crumbs are still God's word and within those crumbs is always the power of His word, which has the ability to build the hearer's faith. Faith is the actual 'substance' of things hoped for, and that word believed has the ability to bring into existence that which does not exist.

  7. Brenda, Thank you for sharing your insights into this passage. As believers, we must certainly share the truth with the unbelievers. As they start chewing on God's Word, they may come to know that He is real and that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Faith comes by hearing. And hearing by the word of God. Have a blessed day.

  8. Replies
    1. Thank you Peggy and may God bless you

  9. Thank you very much, Ken. This is REALLY good. I have never heard it explained like this. There is a lot of truth for me to meditate on here! God bless you.

    1. Thank you Karen for your comment, it is much appreciated. May God bless you

  10. Great post Ken. Each day is a new adventure in God. If we only let Him have His way and not ours. Blessings.

    1. Thank you JBR. Yes, each day is a new adventure in God. How awesome it is to walk with the Lord. May God bless you

  11. The Lord would never despise a broken and a contrite spirit but oh how he detests pride. He was impressed and pleased with the woman's persistence because it reflected how much faith she had in Jesus. It's impossible to please God without faith and this lady had both faith and humility so I guess she was in a good position to have her request granted (or her prayer answered.) Thanks for sharing Ken, God bless always. :)

  12. Thank you Vilisi for sharing your insights. Faith and humility is most important when coming to the Lord. May God bless you


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