May 4th 2009, 08:46 PM
Thanks for your good question!!
It's great that you're here at Bibleforums! :pp :pp :pp
(Where a woman asks for healing for her daughter and Jesus replies, "It is not right to take the children's bread and feed it to their dogs.")
Can someone explain this? ...
this analogy sounds like the gospel was only intended for the Jews and that non-Jews were not supposed to ask for it; that the "leftovers" (I have no idea what leftover gospel would be) are meant for them. Also...calling other peoples dogs? I'm disturbed. Help me out please.
To understand what is going on here we need to see the incident in context.
I don't have time just now to type out a full answer in detail, from start, so I'm going to draw upon some posts which I wrote on a previous occasion when this came up. (I follow Mark's gospel, because the whole incident is easiest to follow, in context, there; and because I know Mark best; and for other reasons.) Those previous posts were:
Let's read this incident in Context and [/COLOR]
This incident is really about affirmation and inclusion of all people! and
What comes out of us when we trust in Christ
The basic answer is that Jesus was not excluding the woman, but rather developing the theme that the gospel extended to all the nations. However, this also occurred in a situation where Jesus was challenging this woman to genuine faith. Taken in context, I believe, this shows Jesus, and also Mark, emphasizing the woman's faith, and the full inclusion of the Gentiles.
Let's read this incident in Context
In order to understand what is going on in this incident with the Syro-Phonecian woman, we need to view the passage in context. The particular incident is part of a sequence involving Jesus' interaction with the Pharisees. Mark's gospel gives the fullest account.
This whole passage is set, in Mark's gospel, right between the feeding of the 5000 (5000 Jewish people, at Mark 6:30-44 with a followup from 6:45 to 6:52) and the feeding of the 4000 (4000 who were almost certainly a Gentile, a non-Jewish, crowd, at Mark 8:1-11 with a follow-up at 11-13 and 14-21).
6:53-56 And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized him, and ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And where he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and begged him that they might touch -- even if only the border of his garment -- and as many as touched him were made whole.
7:1-13 Then Pharisees, and some of the scribes from Jerusalem came to him. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashed, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands often, do not eat, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they don't eat. And there are many other practices which they have received, as the washing of cups, and pots, brass vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk don't your disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands? He answered and said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Therefore in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do. And he said unto them, You thoroughly reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honor your father and thy mother; and, Whoever curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But you say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever you might have profited by me; he shall be free. And you allow him no more to do anything for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of no effect through your tradition, which you have delivered: and many such like things you do.
7:14-23 And when he had called all the people to him, he said to them, Listen to me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from outside a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are what defiles the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he said to them, Are you so without understanding also? Don't you perceive, that whatever enters into a man from outside him cannot defile him because it enters not his heart, but into the stomach, and is later elminated, when his body voids itself of all food? (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, That which comes out of the man, that defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
7:24-30 And from there he got up, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into a house, and would have no one know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she begged him that he would cast forth the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said to her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not fitting to take the children's bread, and to cast it to the dogs. And she answered and said to him, Yes, Lord: yet the puppies under the table eat of the children's crumbs. And he said to her, For this saying go your way; the demon is gone out of your daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.
7:31-37 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they brought to him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And right away his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they made it known; And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He has done all things well: he makes both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.
This incident is really about affirmation and inclusion of all people!
This incident is really about affirmation and inclusion of all people![/B][/QUOTE]First, we need to see that this incident with the Syro-Phonecian woman immediately follows a teaching by Jesus in which he abrogates the Jewish dietary and ceremonial regulations, and -- as Mark puts it -- declared all foods clean. And we need to understand the signficance of that event.
The point that Gentile believers in Jesus were not required to keep the Jewish ceremonial law was a central point which was emphasized in the early Church, as described in Acts 10 and 11, and Acts 15 among other places. The significance of this was that the Gospel was not just for the Jews, but for all people, and that no hindrance -- in terms of Jewish culture or dietary regulations -- should be placed in the way of Gentile believers. The central point was that all who followed Jesus were Christians, irrespective of whether they were Jews or Gentiles. The central way in which this teaching was implemented was by not requiring the Gentile believers to change their dietary habits to conform to Jewish custom (Kosher) concerning clean and unclean foods, and so on.
Thus, in saying that in the passage in Mark 7:14-23 (and the surrounding context from 6:53 on) Jesus "declared all foods clean" the central point of Mark's gospel is that Jesus is teaching the full inclusion of the gentiles among his followers. The point is not about whether we can now eat shellfish -- that would obviously be an absolutely unimportant matter to Mark, as to Jesus -- but about the fact that all believers, all who trust in Jesus and follow Him, regardless of ethnic and cultural background, are fully part of Christ's Church.
Thus it is utterly inconceivable that such a teaching could be given by a person who rejected the gentiles (here, the Syro-Phonecian woman) or thought that they were inferior. The whole tenor of the larger passage, and of Jesus' teaching in it, is entirely the opposite: the full inclusion of the gentiles as followers of Christ.
When we realize that, we can see that the incident with the S-P woman actually is a continuation of what Jesus has said in the preceding passage, not something which teaches the opposite.
For Mark a central thing which brings us to Christ is our faith. Faith is, in a sense, the key virtue, the key requisite, for following Jesus. The story of the S-P woman is a story which shows how this woman had faith in Christ, and how that faith became an important part of Jesus' teaching about the gospel!!
Note that the concern that Jesus discusses has to do with the woman's ancestry which is Greek, culturally, coming from Syria and Phonecia. To Jews, such people were thought of as from "the nations", the "goyim", and not of the seed of Abraham: they were considered Gentile "dogs", that is, unclean. This is the issue that Jesus raises with her, to challenge her to express her faith in Him.
Her response is perfect: she recognizes that Jesus is the one who can give her life, her daughter, good things, and replies that whatever comes her way from him is like crumbs falling from the Lord's table. This is the situation for all of us: what we have, we receive not by right, not by what we deserve, but by God's grace. Her reply is also very witty! Jesus is delighted, and commends, praises, what she says!! This is a response of faith.
What has gone into the woman is her culture, background, and ancestry. But what has come out of the woman, in response to Jesus' challenge, is a remarkable confession of faith! (This contrasts utterly with the Pharisees, whose wrong approach Mark notes just before this incident. They have Jewish ancestry, and should understand God's graciousness and concern for the heart; but what comes out of them, instead is an emphasis upon externals which leads them to reject the core teaching of the Law, such as honoring parents.)
Thus Jesus' interaction with the S-P woman could be summed up as follows, in terms of Jesus' saying that not what goes into a person makes the person unclean, but that what comes from the heart is what expressses whether the person is clean or unclean. In the case of the woman, it is not what has gone into her (a pagan background and ancestry) that affects whether she is clean or unclean, but what has come out of her, the good within her heart (a remarkable statement of faith in Jesus, and openness to what he has to offer) instead leads to the cleansing of her daughter!
In this sense this whole passage hangs together teaching, and then illustrating, the inclusion of the gentiles!
The point of the passage is even more striking in larger context. This is the passage placed between the feeding of the 5000 and the feeding of the 4000. The 5000 are in a Jewish area, counted in the Jewish manner (5000 males), and the feeding generates 12 baskets of fragments, symbolic of the 12 tribes of Israel. The 4000 are in a gentile area (the decapolis), are counted in the gentile manner (4000 people, counting women and children also), and generates 7 baskets of fragments, symbolic of the (7-day) creation, and thus of all the (70) nations God has made. Thus the whole passage not only proclaims the inclusion of the gentiles, but also marks a transition in Jesus' ministry to a major event in which He reaches out to a gentile crowd. This is probably further signalled by the healing of the deaf man (7:31-37) by which Jesus prepares the disciples, and readers of Mark's gospel, for Jesus "opening the ears" of those who have previously been deaf to, unaware of or indifferent to, the God of Israel and the scriptures.
Jesus often challenges people to come up with more faith than the originally have, in Mark's gospel. His challenge to the S-P woman is similar. He provokes her so that she can realize that Jesus is not just a miracle worker, but that her faith and her response to Him is critical, and that what we receive we receive by His grace. For this, He praises her highly. Getting hung-up on the fact that his challenge to her was provoking her to think about these things by dwelling on traditional distance between Jews and Gentiles is missing the forest for the trees. I'm sure that when her daughter was well, and she living in the knowledge of Christ's redeeming power, she did not care a whit if Jesus' initial remark to her seemed "rude" by someone or other's standards!
What comes out of us when we trust in Christ
This passage is of great pastoral importance for all of us, also, IMO
It teaches us how we can rely on God despite a troubled past, or difficult circumstances.
I learned to read this passage as I just have from a friend who had come out of a family situation which was depressing him, and angering him. As he studied this situation, he came to see that for him, as for the Syro-Phonecian woman, it wasn't the ancestry, the family background or family troubles, or wrong moves by his parents, that could make him clean or unclean. Rather, it was how he himself responded to Jesus: it was what came out of him, in response, that would lead him to a good or bad future.
This led him to forgive his parents, and as that happened they also started to change in various ways. His own life was filled with hope, as he saw that, trusting in Jesus and following Christ, good deeds and joy could start flowing from his life, regardless of troubling things from the past. His life could be full of good fruit, and made clean, as God helped good things come out of him, and as he ignored troubling or undesirable things in his past that had gone into him.
He started, and still leads, a ministry for troubled and underprivileged minority youth, which has been a big help to many for over 20 years!!
I hope all that helps!
In friendship, :hug:
May 4th 2009, 09:28 PM
Unfortunately you are going to get two answers on this subject. You already saw them in the first three answers. All I can add is what I believe to be the true interpretation from a dispensational view. We believe that there are a difference between Israel and the gentiles. Jesus here shows it directly and to try and bend it to mean something else is not profitable .At first she calls Him:
Mat 15:22 A Canaanite woman who lived in that region came to him. "Son of David!" she cried out. "Have mercy on me, sir! My daughter has a demon and is in a terrible condition."
Note she calls Him "Son of David" He does not answer her
Mat 15:23 But Jesus did not say a word to her. His disciples came to him and begged him, "Send her away! She is following us and making all this noise!"
She new He was the King of Israel and she called Him indirectly by that name. When the desciples want to send her away He answers
Mat 15:24</B> Then Jesus replied, "I have been sent only to the lost sheep of the people of Israel."
Mat 15:25 At this the woman came and fell at his feet. "Help me, sir!" she said.
He was not sent to the Gentiles! To Israel. If they accepted Him they would have fulfilled the prophecy and became a holy nation of priests spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles.
She now changes and calls Him Sir.
He then goes further :
Mat 15:26 Jesus answered, "It isn't right to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs."
Mat 15:27 "That's true, sir," she answered, "but even the dogs eat the leftovers that fall from their masters' table."
Now we must understand in those days the Jews considered the Gentiles as dogs. You were not allowed to eat with them. Dogs were not allowed in the house but look what she says: she alludes to the word for puppies, puppies were allowed in the house for children to play with. Then Jesus commends her faith. But the fact that He first came for the Jews still remained.
Now read Acts 13:
Act 13:45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; they disputed what Paul was saying and insulted him.
Act 13:46 But Paul and Barnabas spoke out even more boldly: "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. But since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we will leave you and go to the Gentiles.
And also Acts 28
Act 28:26 For he said, 'Go and say to this people: You will listen and listen, but not understand; you will look and look, but not see,
Act 28:27 because this people's minds are dull, and they have stopped up their ears and closed their eyes. Otherwise, their eyes would see, their ears would hear, their minds would understand, and they would turn to me, says God, and I would heal them.' "
Act 28:28 And Paul concluded: "You are to know, then, that God's message of salvation has been sent to the Gentiles. They will listen!"
Then read Rom 11 read the whole chapter but I only quote this verse here
Rom 11:25 There is a secret truth, my friends, which I want you to know, for it will keep you from thinking how wise you are. It is that the stubbornness of the people of Israel is not permanent, but will last only until the complete number of Gentiles comes to God.
Then read Ephesians chapter 1 to 3
What all this shows to me is that Jesus came for the Jews, they rejcted Christ and that left a vacuum for the Gentiles because now there were no holy nation of priests to minister the Gospel to trhem. This is where Paul reveals the dispensation of the mystery as per Ephesians chapter 2 and 3. This is only a very short answer to a very wonderfull message that was committed to Paul. Take into consideration that Paul is the apostle that preached forgvines of sins through the blood of Christ. This message was not preached by Jesus!!!
2Co 5:16 WhereforeG5620 henceforthG575 G3568 knowG1492 weG2249 no manG3762 afterG2596 the flesh:G4561 yea,G1161 thoughG1499 we have knownG1097 ChristG5547 afterG2596 the flesh,G4561 yetG235 nowG3568 henceforth knowG1097 we him no more.G3765
In The Love of Christ
May 4th 2009, 09:44 PM
We believe that there are a difference between Israel and the gentiles.This doesn't fly with Scripture, I'd say.
Romans 9.6-8 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
Galatians 3.28-29 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
Ephesians 2.12-13 ... remember that you [Gentiles] were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Sure seems like your claim that "there a difference between Israel and the Gentiles" is a plain contradiction with "there is neither Jew nor Gentile", and Paul's explicit statement that "if you are Christ's" - [I]regardless of whether you are "Jew or Gentile" - makes you "Abraham's offspring" and as a result, "heirs according to the promise". Paul also directly contrasts how the Gentiles were previously "alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise", and goes to show how those Gentiles who were "in Christ Jesus" are now "brought near" by Christ's blood. Gentiles who follow Christ are made a part of Israel. And, of course, there is Romans 11, with Paul's extensive allegory of Israel being a tree; Gentiles who follow Christ are grafted on to the tree, Jews who do not follow Christ are broken off.
The only distinction between Jews and Gentiles is that Jews had the Old Testament whereas Gentiles did not. In Christ, there is no difference.
May 5th 2009, 04:12 AM
(Where a woman asks for healing for her daughter and Jesus replies, "It is not right to take the children's bread and feed it to their dogs.")
Can someone explain this? The commentaries I've read say that Jesus was referring to the gentiles as "dogs" and His healing/gospel as the bread. While it makes sense that He would serve His own people first, this analogy sounds like the gospel was only intended for the Jews and that non-Jews were not supposed to ask for it; that the "leftovers" (I have no idea what leftover gospel would be) are meant for them. Also...calling other peoples dogs? I'm disturbed. Help me out please.
In my view, Jesus intended all along to heal this woman's daughter. His statement wasn't meant as a rebuke but a test of her faith. And not only this, but Jesus meant this as a teaching experience.
I believe this for the following reasons.
1. The fact that the Jews unkindly referred to Gentiles as dogs was already a well established cultural slur being used at the time.
2. Not only did the Jews unkindly refer to Gentiles as dogs, the Jews would not normally interact with a Gentile and especially a Gentile woman. (See John 4)
3. Jesus did not immediately answer the woman, though his past actions demonstrate no reservation with talking to a gentile or a woman.
4. Jesus waited until his disciples spoke before addressing the woman.
5. His statement, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." was spoken to the disciples as if the disciples hadn't known this ahead of time. However, in Matthew 10, Jesus sends his disciples out with explicit instructions for them to preach to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and not to go to the Gentiles. Why tell them something they already knew unless Jesus was about to introduce a novel idea.
6. In Matthew 12, Matthew reminds his readers that Jesus would give hope to the Gentiles.
7. At the end of his Gospel, Matthew records Jesus' instructions that his apostles should go out into all the world to make disciples in his name.
Therefore, I believe Jesus used this opportunity to teach his disciples to overcome their prejudice against Gentiles and in order to eventually expand his ministry beyond the lost sheep of Israel, he prepared them to minister to the Gentiles.
Meanwhile, he also used this opportunity to display the great faith of this woman, allowing her to persevere in a challenge and test of faith and to reward her persistence. He brought the prejudice out into the open to see how she would handle it. He used the common pejorative "dog" to push a few cultural buttons to demonstrate to his disciples that indeed, this woman's faith was real and genuine.
In the end, Jesus gave her high praise in the presence of his disciples and healed her daughter.
What I take from this is that our Lord might push back when we ask him for things just to see if we are serious, or to help us find out for ourselves that we are, even as he already knows it. Expect a little "push-back" once in awhile as he gives us opportunities to display courage and loyalty.