Mark 7:24-30 NRSVue
24From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27He 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.” 28But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” 30And when she went home, she found the child lying on the bed and the demon gone.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
Let me imagine this encounter, Lord. I believe you were smiling most of the time. You had taken what we call now a break in the country, away from the clamorous Jews. This demanding woman had heard about you, and ruined your planned retreat. When a mother is worried about her daughter, manners and consideration go out the window. At first you tease her -- everyone knows that Jews do not mix with Gentiles. She is unabashed and comes back hard, turning your metaphor about puppy dogs on its head.
Lord I would like to talk to you as the Syrophoenician did, not hesitating to bother you with my needs, and trusting in your goodness and your sense of humour.
Jesus' words can seem harsh, but it is important to realise that Jewish writers sometimes described Gentiles, unflatteringly, as "little dogs." However, the Gentile woman is not put off by what Jesus says. She is able to best Jesus in verbal repartee, adapting Jesus' response to suit her desire to have her daughter cured. The story of the Gentile woman, an "outsider", challenges us against setting limits on those who can be called sons and daughters of God.
Jesus admired the woman's persistence in looking for a blessing for her daughter. I demonstrate my sincerity in prayer by my persistent trust in God.
I pray for the humility I may need to change my mind.