We Gentiles Only Need Crumbs! | Mark 7:27–30
27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
We saw last time that Jesus headed northward, perhaps to teach His disciples in private when they met this mother. Because of her encounter with Jesus, her daughter is free from Satan to experience normal life. Her faith-filled plea is a teaching opportunity, so let’s see what these verses reveal about it.
She comes to Jesus with faithful persistence. Matthew fills in some intervening information; Jesus at first remains silent to her request, and His disciples ask Him to send her away (Mt. 15:23). He then speaks—to the disciples rather than the woman (v. 24)—saying, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Still, she came near, knelt, and said, “Lord, help me” (v. 25). After being seemingly rebuffed and even compared to a dog (see here in v. 27), she accepted it and persisted in her prayer. As Warren Wiersbe points out, “It must have rejoiced His heart when she took His very words and used them as a basis for her plea!”
She comes to Jesus with humble faithfulness. Jesus uses a form of the Greek word for “dog” that means pets rather than scavengers. Jesus draws a line between the children of Abraham and her genealogy; Israel remains the priority for receiving God’s Word (cf. Acts 1:8; 13:46, 47; Rm 1:16; 2:10; 15:8). While the disciples’ mission will eventually include the Gentiles, now isn’t the time. She takes no apparent offence any of this.
After the Lord is raised, the Apostles will go to the synagogues, to the Jews of every country first, and then the Gentile “dogs” will receive the food the children reject. The truth is that we are all like dogs, Jew or Gentile, white or black, male or female, hoping for crumbs from the Master’s table. Jesus extends His grace, and we know this when we come with this kind of humility and persistently trust Him!