Why Dogs?

From the 30 day reading I had someone ask me about the passage of Matthew 15: 21-28 and why we Gentiles are seen as dogs. After taking a few moments to reply I thought it might just make a good blog:

Jesus answer to this woman does not in anyway contradict the truth that God’s Word is for everyone, in fact when He says this to the woman He is actually teaching in a geographical location that was where the Gentiles lived. There are several other recorded times where Jesus ministered to the Gentiles. Jesus was simply telling the woman that Jews were to have the first opportunity to accept him as the Messiah because God wanted them to present the message of salvation to the rest of the world (Gen 12:3). While on earth, Jesus restricted his mission to Jewish people. In doing so, he was doing his Father’s will (11:27) and fulfilling the promise God made to Jews in the Old Testament. The restricted mission of Jesus and the disciples echoes the principle recorded in 10:5-6. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” does not mean Jesus came to the Jews alone; rather, it means that he would go to them first (Mark 7:27). “Sheep” was an affectionate term used often for God’s people in the Old Testament.

As far as calling the Gentiles dogs, Jesus was not rejecting the Canaanite woman. Instead, he was explaining that his activities were limited (in his humanity); thus, he had to focus on his goal. Jesus had only a short time on earth. His mission focused on (but was not limited to) the Jews. Jesus tested (in the sense of “probed, challenged, encouraged”) this woman’s faith and used the situation to teach that faith is available to all people. Matthew alone recorded this interchange. His Jewish audience would have been very interested in Jesus’ miracle to help this Gentile woman.

His answer is in the language of a parable, so we have to be careful on pressing in to much on the details. The word Jesus used for dogs is a word that referred to a little dog, or a house pet. The parable simple relates to us like we would say that our children at our table should be fed before pets, it would not be right to take the kids food and give it to the pets. Again, Jesus is speaking His priorities of spending time feeding His disciples and to not take away from them. He is not insulting this woman but is showing her that she must not demand what God had ordained for the Jews and that she should await the appointed time when the Gentiles would receive the Godd News of the gospel. He is really giving us the point of precedence here.

The Good News for us no, beyound the cross and His ressurection is that we are now considered Jews, that is His chosen ones:

Eph 2:14-18
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

Hope this helps a little. In Christ, Jeff