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Going To The Dogs


Matthew 15:21-28

 As God’s people we have been commissioned by Christ to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

In this passage however, Jesus deals with an issue that has for many years hindered some from evangelizing certain people.

Let’s look at the passage and let’s learn some very relevant lessons for us today.

As you look at this passage the first thing you notice is that Jesus goes to the “District of Tyre and Sidon.”

But look at what Jesus does in verse 23: She cries out to Jesus, “But He did not answer her a word.”

For now, let’s go on. Verse 23: “But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came to Him and kept asking Him, saying, “Send her away, for she is shouting out after us.”

 But Jesus ignores His disciples and He answers the woman: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

 But this Canaanite woman and mother is persistent and in verse 25 it says that “she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

And then in verse 26 Jesus responds to her and says, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

Well if you go over into Mark chapter 7:27 I think we can find some help in understanding what Jesus is saying here.

 And then notice the word “dogs.”

So what Jesus is doing is He is expressing His priority and His first priority, His first order of business, His first responsibility as Messiah is to the Jews or to the, “Lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Jesus is not being callous here. He is not calling this woman a “dog.”

Now look at Matthew chapter 15: 26 again. “And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

“But she said, Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters table.”

And look at what Jesus says in verse 28: “Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.”

 Now, what is there about this story that is so relevant for us today?

If you want to understand why Jesus made this trip, you have to go back to what Jesus has just taught prior to this.

This was a revolutionary concept for the Jews.

How could He do that?

And not only that, she is a woman! (Women were considered to be property)

And it is a good possibility that this woman was poor….she had probably spent most of her money trying to get help for her daughter.

How could Jesus help this unclean, and unworthy woman?

“Send her away, for she is shouting out after us.”

And what is His point?

You see, what Jesus is teaching here is the width of God’s love.

And we say, “We know that!”

How many of us look at the black man with bias and prejudice because of the color of his skin and some decades old ideas that others have had and say, “He’s not worthy of the kingdom of God.”

And maybe it is not so much a person’s race but simply his appearance.

And our prejudices and biases can be based on such things as: He isn’t a cowboy… Or he is a cowboy… Or he is overweight… Or he smells bad… Or he looks funny… Or he has bad manners… Or he has a goatee… Or a tattoo… Or he drives a Harley or he wears an earring.

Do we sometimes think because we are white… and American… That we are God’s favorite and He only cares for us?

The Jews did. They thought they were God’s favorite and that God cared only for them.

Let me read a poem that was sent to me some time back:

Six humans trapped by happenstance in the black and bitter cold, each one possessed a stick of wood, or so the story is told. Their dying fire was in need of logs but the first man held his back, for of all the faces around the fire, he noticed that one was black. The next man looking across the way saw one that was not of his church and he wouldn’t give himself to give the fire his stick of birch. The third man sat in tattered clothes and gave his coat hitch. Why should he put his log to use to warm the idle rich? The rich man sat back and thought of the wealth he had in store and how to keep what he had earned from the lazy, shiftless poor. The black man’s face spoke revenge as the fire past from site for all he saw in his stick of wood was a chance to despite the white. The last man of this forlorn group did nothing except for gain, giving only to those who gave to him, was the way he played the game. Their logs held tight and death’s still grasp is proof of human sin. They didn’t die of cold without. They died from the cold within.

Here in these 8 versus of Matthew 15 you see Jesus reaching out to one not like Himself.

We live in a city, and estate, and the nation with many different races and cultures.

Why do we do that? Is it because we haven’t dealt with our biases yet?

Jesus is pleading with us here and saying, “What matters is not the outside… What matters is inside.”