Mark 7:24-30 24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. 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 impure 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.
Jesus was a traveling Rabbi and it would have been unusual for Him to travel outside of the Jewish area. But here He did. He went to Phoenicia and met a Gentile woman who gives us an example of intercessory prayer. She was begging Christ to help her child and she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Intercessory prayer is persistent.
She fell at His feet and pleaded with Him. In the Matthew version she says, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” On behalf of her faith she’s asking Him to have mercy on her child.
Matthew 15 tells us that He actually ignored her. And when He finally says something, it’s very strange and seemingly very mean. “Let the children be satisfied first” refers to the nation of Israel. Jesus is clarifying His mission. He came to the Jewish people first and foremost. Even after all their rejection of Him, He is still patient with the Jews.
BUT, even though He came first and foremost to the Jews, He WAS in Tyre – a Gentile region.
Next He basically calls her a dog. The difference between this and someone just insulting someone else is; Jesus knew her heart and He was drawing her faith and humility out of her. This was actually a merciful action. You have to be humble with God. You have to need Him. To know He is the only thing that can help you. He is the only answer.
And her answer was right. She was fine with letting the Israelites get help first. She just wanted the crumbs. She somehow understood there was more then enough and would settle for being under the table if that’s what it took to get into the room!
Sometimes God doesn’t give us a yes answer right away. He may be trying to tease some faith out of us. We need to be persistent, humble and have faith.