By Rev. Eric Brown
“Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” (Matthew 15:21-28)
This Canaanite woman seems to be having a bad day. To start, her daughter is demon oppressed. Severely. That's a rough start to any day. Moreover, when Jesus comes by, and she cries out to Him for mercy, He is silent. Then the disciples want Him to send her away.
And then, when Jesus finally answers her, after she kneels in front of Him, all He says is, “It's not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” And yes, in the ancient world, calling a woman a dog is just as much of an insult as it is today.
And we'd expect that woman to be insulted. We wouldn't be surprised if she left in a huff, told all her friends, “Can you believe what Jesus said about me!” But she's not insulted. She sees an opening. Yes – Yes I am a dog, but good masters make sure that their dogs get fed and the crumbs - the scraps that you provide - would be more than enough for me!
This is what Jesus declares to be a great faith.
Often the Scriptures say things about us that we don't like. They say that we are sinners, that all our good works are as filthy rags. That we are basically dogs. Many get offended by this. Rail against it. But here is the glorious truth – though you are sinful and lowly, you belong to Christ, and He treats you far better than you could ever deserve. He pours out His love and mercy upon you and gives you life everlasting – not because of how great you are, but because of how great He is, because you are His by virtue of your Baptism.
Yes, Lord – I am a sinner and worthy of nothing, but You are gracious and give me everything!
Rev. Eric Brown is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Herscher, Illinois and the co-host of the HT Gospeled Boldly Podcast.
Created: March 6th, 2017