Crumbs For Dogs


By Teena Myers

A Gentile woman who had heard about Jesus and believed he was the son of David and heir to his throne approached him seeking a miracle.

 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He answered her not a word.

Note that the daughter full of devils is not present. The mother didn’t need mercy, her daughter did, and the daughter was not asking for his help. In response to the mother’s plea for mercy, Jesus refused to acknowledge her. 

The mother responded by turning to a lessor power for help–his disciples. The disciples could not help her, so they went to Jesus and complained.  They didn’t ask Jesus to help the mother. They asked him to send her away. Jesus didn’t send her away. He explained to his disciples why he refused to acknowledge her. 

And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”  But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 

Miracles were for the lost sheep, God’s children.

 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

When the disciples tried to convince Jesus to send her away, she changed her tactics. Instead of pleading for mercy, she worshipped Jesus. God does not ignore people who worship him. Jesus explained why he did not want to heal her daughter. 

But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” 

Did Jesus lie to this desperate woman?

I have heard many sermons that claimed Jesus really did not mean it would be bad if he healed her daughter. He made that statement to draw faith out of the woman. If Jesus does not mean what he says and says what he means, he is a liar. If he lied to the woman, he is not God. It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:8). If he can tell a lie, we cannot trust him. 

The only way to accurately interpret what happened is to believe Jesus told her the truth. He wasn’t trying to get faith from her. He had her best interest at heart. He told her why he ignored her plea for help. It’s not good to give the children’s bread to dogs. 

Knowing the truth, healing her daughter would not be good, she rejected his wisdom and refused to be denied. 

And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 

She agreed that getting what she wanted would not be good, but even dogs eat crumbs. The insincerity in the mother’s worship is revealed. If she truly worshipped him, she would have respected his wisdom and accepted that it is not good for her daughter to receive a miracle.

Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Mat 15:21-28, NKJV)

You might argue that Jesus said she had great faith, and by that faith she obtained what she desired. He healed her daughter. Great does not mean good. WWII is called the “Great War”. Does that mean it was a good war? God gave us faith to obtain what he desires to give us. She ignored Jesus’ counsel and refused to leave until she got what she desired. From the day Eve desired to be wise like God until today, getting what we desire is the source of much pain and suffering.

God is infallible. He owes a debt to no man because he has wronged no one. If we back him in a corner with our “great faith” putting him in the position that we will be angry with him if he does and angry if he doesn’t, he will give us what we want. He knows how to keep his hands clean. The pain we bring into our lives thinking we are smarter than God, is our fault, not his.

To understand why Jesus initially told the woman, “NO”, we need to consider a few important facts. First, the woman’s daughter was full of devils. Devils cannot possess us unless we give them permission. Second, the daughter was not seeking help. Therefore, the daughter was involved in worshipping devils. Third, the woman approached Jesus crying help me. She wanted relief from a daughter full of devils, but that did not mean her daughter wanted the devils to leave.

Mom’s solution to her problem, cast out the devils, was well within Jesus’ ability to implement. But if we back up from Matthew 15 to Matthew 12 Jesus already explained what happens when devils leave.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” (Matthew 12:43-45, NKJV)

Jesus can cast out devils, but that does not stop them from returning.  He knew healing the woman’s daughter would not be good because the daughter was not seeking his help, and the devils he cast out would return to an empty clean house. Ultimately, the mother’s solution would have made the problem seven times worse.

When God says “No” he has a good reason.

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