God’s mercy for outcasts
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“And he answered, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’
Then Jesus answered her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’
And her daughter was healed instantly.”
Matthew 15:26-28 English Standard Version
I am a dog person. Our family has two large dogs. One is a mixed-breed puppy, and the other an 8-year old Golden Retriever.
I prefer dogs over any other animal on this earth. While cats are standoffish and wily, most dogs are good-natured, loving and loyal to a fault. That is probably why they are referred to as “man’s best friend”. Many are hard workers, and often serve to rescue, herd, protect, entertain and comfort. Mine are very intelligent and always glad to see me.
While Western society tends to love their four-legged canines, they had a bad reputation in the Bible. They were the lowest of the low. The Jews often referred to the Gentiles as dogs. Derogatory terms were used for dogs, and they were frequently associated with pagans, idolaters, and scoundrels. Even to this day, some religions will still not acknowledge or touch them due to their impure nature.
The Canaanite woman who came to Jesus begging for him to heal her demon-possessed daughter knew that she was considered to be a dog in the eyes of the Jews. She was not worthy to even speak to Jesus, yet she persisted. She recognized Jesus as “Lord, the Son of David”. She also verbally acknowledged herself as the lowest of the low – a dog at that time. Yet, she remained vigilant – stating that even dogs get crumbs from the table of their master.
How awesome to know that even though we are sinners and do not deserve forgiveness, God loves us like dogs. He sent his Son to intercede so that we, too, might be adopted into the kingdom and become his best friend.
Copyright Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, CO