Even Dogs Eat Crumbs (Mark 7:24-30)

Even Dogs Eat Crumbs (Mark 7:24-30)

I.) Despicable Dogs

We have a great portion before us. In fact, it could be argued the truth presented here is the reason we are here.

Consider the question:

Q.) Why are we here today?

A.) To worship Christ, Who has offered us forgiveness of sins and eternal life by grace alone, through faith alone in Him.

He Who knew no sin, willingly became it as our Perfect Substitute. As our Substitute:

1.) He shed His blood to cover our very sins against Him.

2.) He was crushed and forsaken under the wrath of God to satisfy the justice we all deserved.

As our Righteous Substitute, He not only cancelled out our sin debt, but He credited His righteousness to us. Since His justice was satisfied, and His righteousness imputed, God is just in justifying the One Who rests in Him. His resurrection demonstrates His offering was acceptable to God. By faith in His work, a sinner can be forgiven of their sins and given the hope of eternal life in Christ.

Q.) Why are we able to worship Him for this?

A.) Jewish men turned the world upside down teaching Christ crucified and risen again.

Q.) Do we understand what those men had to do in order to do that?

A.) They had to bring the light of the glorious gospel of Christ to the gentiles.

To some that may not sound like much, but to a Jew, Gentiles are despicable dogs. They were considered aliens, and excluded from the common wealth of Israel.[1] Detestably defiled to the Jews.

I’m fairly certain this room contains believing Gentiles, despicable dogs, who are brought near to God by the blood of Christ. The same blood that saves believing Jews.

This portion of Mark; therefore, should be of great importance to us all.

Q.) Why is this?

A.) Jesus shows the men, who are going to carry the message of the Christ to the nations that salvation is also for Gentile dogs like us.

If they remained in their prejudice to the Gentiles we would not be here today.

II.) Denial to Illumine the Dogs

If we quickly pass over this text we will miss entirely what Jesus has taught and done.

Q.) What does He demonstrate?

A.) God will satisfy both Jew and Gentile alike.

I would argue they do not grasp the lesson, since Acts 10-11 reveals Christ being more direct with Peter on the matter. What we see in this portion is Christ fracturing a way of thinking in His disciples, and rebuilding it.

Understand that salvation among the Gentiles should not be news to Israel, because it was promised to the Hebrew fathers. To Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God said, “…in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”[2]

Not only were the Gentiles promised to be blessed by The Seed of Abraham,[3] but Israel was to be a light to the Gentile nations:

Psalm 67:1-3 declares, “God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us – Selah. That the way may be known on the earth, Thy salvation among the nations. Let the peoples praise Thee, O God.”

Sadly the Jews refused to do this, and looked at Gentiles as filthy enemies.

Not only did they refuse to be the light, but they failed to acknowledge the mission of the coming Messiah, The Son of David. Isaiah 42:6-7 speaks of the Messiahs work as being appointed:

“…as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations. To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.”

Isaiah 49:6 gives more clarity to this work:

“…a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Remember, Jesus declared the Messianic title by referring to Himself as the Son of Man in Mark 2:10,28. He has proven that claim by fulfilling the signs Israel was to be looking for:

“The blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf here, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”[4]

We should therefore be able to see Him bring light to the gentiles.

III.) Christ Feeds the Dogs

Let’s now look at Mark, because he is going to highlight important information for us:

Mark 7:24-26

Q.) What details do Mark chose to amplify?

A.) The region, the need, and the person.

Q.) Why does He do this?

A.) These details magnify the Christ.

Let’s first consider the region and person.

Jesus and the disciples have come “to the region of Tyre,” which is Gentile territory in Phoenicia Syria, now Southern Lebanon.

I do not want to go too in depth on the region, but there are notable things:

1.) There is serious history of paganism among these people; they were Baal worshippers.

2.) This Canaanite paganism was active in the defiling of Israel.[5]

3.) So hatred arose among the Jews towards these people.

Now the island city of Tyre was eventually besieged and destroyed in fulfillment of prophecy.[6] This was done at the hands of Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. Tyre was confident in their being fortified at sea. Alexander; however, built a causeway in the sea and marched his army out to it.[7]

Prior to their destruction the Tyrians and Phoenicians would buy Hebrew captives and sell them as slaves:[8] To the Greeks and to the Edomites. It is safe to assume that the word “Syrophoenician” would illicit wrath among the Israelites.

With that being said, let us consider the person who foils Jesus’ intention of wanting “no one to know” of His being there:

1.) The person is a woman.

2.) The woman is “a Gentile of the Syrophoenician race. Matthew 15:22 refers to her as “a Canaanite woman”.

This Gentile woman “kept asking Him” to save her daughter. She pleads for Him to do the very work for her that He is doing for the lost sheep of Israel.

Turn to Matthew 15:23 and look at what His Jewish disciples kept asking Him to do:

Matthew 15:23

Q.) Do you notice what she calls Jesus in the previous verse?

Matthew 15:22

She refers to His Messianic title. This detestable dog in the eyes of the disciples is turning to their Messiah, and they say, “Send her away!”

Jesus ignores her request and responds to His disciples, obviously within earshot of her:

Matthew 15:24

This may appear rude to us, but remember Jesus is going to magnify Himself here. He will do this by elevating the disciple’s view of the Messiah, believing salvation belonged to the Jews alone.

You can almost envision the disciples at this point nodding their heads in affirmation saying, “That’s right, she should know these things.”

Notice what she does:

Matthew 15:25

Q.) What does she do?

A.) She worships Him!

She does this by prostrating herself and acknowledging that He is worthy to help her.

Turn back to Mark and look at His response:

Mark 7:27

This analogy reiterates the fact that Jesus was sent to the lost sheep of Israel. It would not be good for their Messiah to take what they have not fully consumed and give it to others.

Notice she affirms this truth, but responds with an additional analogy:

Mark 7:28

This exposes the fact that even dogs benefit from what is not initially intended for them. Even dogs eat crumbs.

In other words:

“Yes Lord, let them be satisfied, but let us who are not your people be satisfied by just a fragment of you as well.”

“Whatever they allow to fall Lord we will eat it, please have mercy and help me Son of David!”

Listen to Jesus’ response:

Mark 7:29-30

Christ says in Matthew “your faith is great be it done for you as you wish.”[9] Her daughter was healed at once. He just freed a gentile child from Satan’s power.

Q.) What did Jesus just do?

A.) He did for a Gentile that which He was doing for the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Q.) Do you hear that?

A.) Nothing but silence from the disciples. After Christ creates a hairline fracture in their way of thinking neither Matthew nor Mark records their reaction.

Jesus helped a person they have always regarded as detestable, defiled, and beneath them.

IV.) Are we Dog People?

Q.) As believers how do we treat the lost?

Especially those who oppose us theologically, ethically, and politically.

Q.) Do we look down upon them thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think?

If that is the case rest assured your focus is neither on God nor is it on His gospel.

Consider the juxtaposition of the texts:

Q.) What had Jesus taught His Jewish disciples?

A.) They were defiled by their evil hearts.

Yet, here they are trying to send this Gentile woman away from the Christ not even considering they are just as ruined.

While living among the lost we must do away with our pride, and elevate both humility and compassion to people:

1.) Realizing the only thing that sets us apart from the non-believer is a life and a righteous we do not even remotely deserve. It is Christ’s, and without His grace we would be no different.

2.) Recognizing  the cross of Christ does not show our worth, it shows our wretchedness.

Q.) What then gives us worth?

A.) The very thing that atones for our wretchedness; the blood of Christ.

Q.) Do the lost around us know that Jesus saves the most detestable and defiled?

C.) May we teach the Christ, and not withhold the light of His glorious gospel.

1.) After all, the good news is for the helpless, the ungodly, the sinner and the enemy of God.

a.) Such were we without Him.

D.) If He can save you by grace alone through faith alone, He is capable of saving them:

“The gospel…is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

[1] Ephesians 2:12,19

[2] Genesis 12:3b; 22:18;26:4;28:14

[3] Galatians 3:7-9

[4] Matthew 11:5; Cross Reference Isaiah 35:5;61:1

[5] Numbers 22-25:1-3; 1 Kings 16:31-32;18-19

[6] Ezekiel 26:1-21

[7] The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Tenney; Page 835

[8] Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Merrill Unger; Page 1121

[9] Matthew 15:28

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