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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by William A. Kolb

Friday, May 29

Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.
—Mark 7:28

The woman was desperate. Her daughter “had a demon”; that is, her daughter was chronically and seriously ill, perhaps even terminal. She heard about Jesus' powers and sought him out, begging him to cure her child.

Only one problem: she was a “Gentile.” A Gentile was one who was not part of the only faith that Jesus recognized: Judaism. She was not Jewish and the Jews were the only ones who worshipped the One God. Jesus, of course, was Jewish and understood all others to be “pagans”; they did not believe in the “One God,” the monotheistic God of Abraham.

So the woman was sure she stood little chance of help from Jesus. His response to her entreaty was, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs.” By this he meant that the “children of Abraham” should be favored and fed with all the gifts of God; all others could wait.

The woman's reply to that was, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.” In these words, she both showed her humility and acknowledged her recognition of the children of Abraham. Jesus was moved and impressed. He said, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.”

In this story, Jesus once again goes against the cultural and religious “political correctness” of his times and proclaims the absolute inclusivity of God's love. To His Father, our God, nobody is an outsider. God's love takes in all of us.

We, you and I, can be assured of our membership in the family of God—no matter what. We are His creation and we are His forever. Praise the Lord!

Thanks, Lord, for loving me. Amen.

This Signpost originally appeared on explorefaith in 2007.