October 7, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship
Does God ever intend on losing an argument? Do you think He ever changes His mind? After declaring all food clean, Jesus begins to go into Gentile territory to begin ministering to those who were outside the children of Israel. Will the ministry to the Gentiles be a second class ministry? Will Jesus with hold healing from the Gentiles or does He need extra persuasion? If you want to know the answers, don’t miss this Sunday’s message from Mark 7 verses 24 to 37 as we see “Does God Ever Lose an Argument?”
Word On Worship – October 7, 2012 Download / Print
“She kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
Why would Jesus show such contempt to a woman only seeking help for her daughter and compare her to a dog? It implies the only legitimate diners are the children of Israel. If you are confused, you are not alone. The response of Jesus to this desperate mother has confounded readers, not to mention scholars, for years. The scene upsets our sense of justice. We do not mind when Jesus rebukes the Pharisees, because their sense of entitlement deserves condemnation. But the response of our Lord seems to be out of character for a mother interceding for her child.
To deal with this incongruity of Scripture not meeting our expectations, people have found many ways to excuse the perceived harshness of Jesus. Surely He must have used a gentle, maybe even humorous tone of voice to lessen the sting. Maybe Jesus was not convinced His mission was to include the Gentiles just yet? Or could this be Jesus testing the faith of this woman? Others, with a low view of Scripture, argue this incident is merely an invention of the Church which was read back into the history of Jesus to demonstrate Jewish prejudice towards Gentiles.
Stop making excuses for Jesus and His response. A dog is a dog, whether they are pampered pet or feral street hound. No matter how Jesus said it, to call this desperate woman a dog is not a term of endearment. And if this is a test of faith, why does not Jesus commend her faith when it was proved true? Mark may not be aware of the problems which step on our political correctness, but surely the Holy Spirit who inspired Mark’s account is. We come to the Scriptures with our own bias, expectation and selfish desire. Our bias is to make Jesus more Gentile than Jew because we received Him gladly. Our expectation is for Jesus to be more favorable to Gentiles because so many Jews have rejected their Messiah. And our selfish desire obligates Jesus to respond to every request made upon Him because we expect Him to respond to our every beck and call.
Our problem with this response of Jesus is we do not understand who we are, unlike the Canaanite woman. We are self-deluded to think Jesus accepts us just as we are. When Scripture filters out our selfish expectation, we see all of our righteousness is like filthy rags and God accepts us only as Jesus is – holy, righteous and pure. We are ready to begin talking about the grace of God in the Person of Jesus Christ only after we know what we truly are without Him. Never forget the only solution for our sin is the harshness of the cross. The cross is the only way sin, Jew or Gentile, could be dealt with to be accepted by God.