Is the gospel only for a few? Should the church be a closed or secret society? Is there discrimination in the churches so that some people get the word and others don’t? If you read this section of scripture in isolation you could be led astray to think such things, but it is not true.
A woman came to Jesus who was not a Jew but was a Greek and a Syrophoenician by birth. Her daughter was possessed by a demon and she begged the Lord to cast it out. But Jesus said to her, “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (Verse 27)
This sounds rather harsh and could be taken out of context to uphold those questions at the start of this post. But Jesus was not being harsh. His purpose for coming to the world was, as he said “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24) The ministry that was to be given tot he Gentiles, for this woman was a Gentile, came later. The New Covenant opened the door for the whole world to be able to come to God, whether Jew or Gentile. But at the time Jesus walked the earth, there was no New Covenant for it did not come into being until after he had died.
Thus in the interim Jesus was bound under the Old Covenant and there were strict laws and conditions under it in relation to dealing with the Gentiles.
But this woman was a woman of faith. Her response to Jesus was not to get upset or to think him harsh and unkind. She understood the relationship the Jews had with the Gentiles. So her response was aligned to that understanding, for she also recognised the power of the Lord to heal. Thus she said, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” (Verse 28)
Jesus then saw that she was a woman of faith and worthy to receive the healing she asked for. She was effectively saying that although she was not a Jew, she understood and recognised that God was with the Jews and that she took whatever was available to seek the Lord’s way. Jesus says in the Matthew version of this story, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.” (Matthew 15:28)
It is through faith that we receive the promises of God. The New Covenant is based upon faith and it is the children of faith who are the true descendants of Abraham and the true children of Israel. Even though a person may not be a physical descendant of Abraham, when they exhibit faith in God as this woman did, they are accepted and receive the promises of the Lord.
Thus, she received the healing for her daughter and found her resting and the demon gone from the child when she went home.
All who come to the Lord in faith will receive the promises of God. His promises are founded on faith, and without faith it is impossible to please the Lord. As such we must continue to Look to the Lord and learn whatever we can to increase our knowledge and strengthen our faith.
(Picture sourced from: The Agapegeek Blog http://agapegeek.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/dog_at_table.jpg)