Jesus Honors a Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith
24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.[f] He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil[g] spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”
30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
v27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
i. In that day, Jews often called Gentiles “dogs” in a very derogatory way. “The dog was not the well-loved guardian that it is to-day; more commonly it was the symbol of dishonour. To the Greek, the word dog meant a shameless and audacious woman; it was used exactly with the connotation that we use the word @#!*% to-day. To the Jews it was equally a term of contempt.” (Barclay)
ii. Yet Jesus did not use the normal word for “dogs.” Instead He softened it into little dogs – essentially, reminding the woman of her place as a Gentile, yet not wanting to push her completely away. “In Greek, diminutives are characteristically affectionate. Jesus took the sting out of the word.” (Barclay)
v28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
The woman responds with great faith. She accepted her low place before Jesus by not debating the reference to little dogs.
i. “Nothing appealed to our blessed Lord more than faith coupled with humility.” (Ironside) Some people come to God with a kind of faith, but without humility. Others come to God with a kind of humility, but without faith. But if the two are combined it is a powerful thing before God.