Jesus said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” Mark 7:27
A woman pursued Jesus in the hope that He will heal her daughter, and Jesus responded by calling the woman and her child dogs. For those of us who like to think of Jesus as unconditionally loving, this story appears to be an unfortunate stain on that image. While scholars and pastors have tried to explain away this story, there is no denying that Jesus had little interest in tending to the needs of this foreign woman. If you were not a Jew, you did not have access to Jesus.
After being rebuffed by Jesus, however, the woman pressed further. “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” There was something about that response that softened Jesus’ heart. Jesus changed. Jesus gave to the woman what He had formerly withheld. The woman and child Jesus called dogs were revealed as beloved children of God. In that moment Jesus’ heart expanded, and so did the scope of His ministry. He learned that every dog, every sinner, and every fallen child is beloved by God and deserving of healing.
Who do you consider a dog?
Lord, there are so many people I look down upon. There are family members, colleagues, and members of my community that I choose not to associate with. While I might not call them dogs to their faces, I know I treat my own pets better than I treat some of them. I pray that if You can change perhaps I can too. Help me to expand my heart so that I too can enlarge my mission in this world. In Your name, I pray. AMEN.