Jesus told her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the puppies.” But she replied, “Sir, even the puppies under the table eat the crumbs from the children’s bread.” Then Jesus said to her, “You may go your way; because of such a response, the demon has gone out of your daughter.” And when the woman went home, she found her child lying in bed, and the demon gone.
“Even the puppies under the table eat the crumbs from the children’s bread.”
Did Jesus, from the outset, consciously understand the full implications of his mission? Some theologians would suppose so. Yet there are numerous texts—such as this—that suggest that Jesus, fully consistent with his human nature, was capable of learning and widening his perspective. The occasion here is posed by an unnamed gentile woman who accosts Jesus and begs him to cast out a demon from her sick daughter. Surely she knew her action violated the codes of Jewish society. Jesus rebuffs her: “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” Undeterred, the woman replies with a logic that evidently strikes home. “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Apparently persuaded by her skillful answer, Jesus complies with her request.This unnamed woman deserves to be remembered as one of the foremothers of the gentile Church, one who intuited, even while Jesus lived, that his Gospel was for every one. She also represents the count less faithful throughout history who, though pressured to keep silent, nevertheless persisted and challenged the Church to comprehend and act upon the liberating logic of salvation.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019