Today’s text is a little troubling. As a fellow pastor said at the lectionary study yesterday, “It makes me uncomfortable.” In today’s text Jesus calls the woman who has come to beg for her daughter’s healing a “dog”. It was not likely a racial insult in Jesus’ day. We are used to Jesus sparring with the Pharisees and calling them ‘hypocrites’ but this seems different. The loving Jesus who seems to accept all who come to him is trying to rudely dismiss this woman. This version of Jesus makes me uncomfortable too.
Perhaps it makes me uncomfortable because at times I have thought less of another as well. This is often a means to justify not helping them or to rationalize not taking the time to be present with them. In essence I too am calling them a ‘dog’ in my mind and in my analysis of their worth.
Yet in this story I also find hope. In my sin I come before God seeking healing and forgiveness much like a dog. Slinking up to Him, head bowed low, I approach knowing I am unworthy to be in His presence. Like this woman, I do not and cannot argue with my position because in my sin I am lowly. So like her I approach humbly. In her the hope I find, though, is also in her boldness.
This woman is bold in asking for her daughter’s healing. She just asks for a ‘crumb’. She knows that just a little bit of Jesus’ power is enough to heal her daughter. And it does. I too approach boldly. Although made low in my sin, I too can boldly ask to be healed, to be made new, to be washed by His blood. And just like that I too find healing and restoration. And in God’s great love and mercy, I am no longer under the table. As a child of God I am restored back to the table. For this, I say thanks be to God!
Scripture reference: Mark 7: 24-30