Epistles to the Cyberchurch - Su Min

From: Su Min
Subject: Crumbs

Monday 18 November 1996


Dearly Beloved, Greetings in the name of God The Father God The Son and God The Holy Spirit.


Today we read about the faithful gentile woman Matthew_15:11-28:_Mark_7:24-30.


The pressure is building up. Hostile Pharisees have come up north from Jerusalem to Capernaum to check out this young upstart.
Jesus moves his group of disciples to a remote place out of Israel proper into the neighbouring countryside. The motive was for remoteness, for isolation, where he could have peace and tranquillity to teach his disciples.

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew_15:21) Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre (Mark_7:24a)


But there was to be no tranquillity: no rest.
He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. (Mark_7:24b) In fact, as soon as she heard about him a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came at fell at his feet (Mark_7:25)
A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him crying out...(Matthew_15:22a)


The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia (Mark 7a) The woman was a Canaanite woman from that vicinity (Sidon and Tyre)

Take note, for this Gentile woman earns, for her faith, the praise of Jesus! Jesus is surrounded by crowds of Jews. Some will listen to him. Others are hostile. Then comes to Him a gentile woman. As soon as she hears about Him she rushes to Him. No waiting. No weighing the consequences. No heming and hawing. No procrastination. She rushes to Jesus and falls at His feet in humility.


She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. (Mark_7:26b)
"Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!" "My daughter is suffering terribly from demon possession" (Matthew_15:22b)

This mother loves her daughter. Her daughter is demon possessed. This mother knows that Jesus can help. This Gentile woman must somehow have heard of Jesus. And she believed in what she heard. Within a moment of seeing Jesus, she accepts the lordship of Jesus into her life. "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!".

She hears that this healer is none other than Son of David, coming from a great prophetic line. She falls at His feet and addresses Him with honour.
"Lord, Son of David".

She addresses Jesus to the point, coming directly to her need: her daughter's demon possession, and she appeals for mercy, for healing.

"Lord have mercy on me!"


Jesus did not answer a word (Matthew_15:23a)

This may seem strange at first sight.
Why did Jesus not respond immediately? He answered not a word.

Yet this is a mini lesson in itself...
For He did answered, in His own time, and He answered positively, showing mercy and providing the healing that was asked for.



So his disciples came and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us"

His disciples took His silence as rejection of the gentile woman. If Jesus was not to respond to her, should they not dispatch her?

But Jesus does respond to her, in His own time.


He answer "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew_15:24)

Why did Jesus take his time to reply? Who is to know the mind of God? But we can conjecture that Jesus knew what was going on in her mind. Jesus could see her desperate need. Jesus could see her faith. Jesus could see her humility. Perhaps there was a need to test this faith. Let her put her unspoken faith into words and action, as a lesson to herself, as a lesson to us.

And Jesus points out to her the order of things: that God has chosen to redeem the world entirely, both Jew and Gentile, but the Jews were to be redeemed first.


The woman came and knelt before him.
"Lord help me!" she said (Matthew_15:25)

To her first cries for mercy she receives no reply: but she persists. She has the inner conviction that Jesus can meet her needs.


"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 their dogs" (Mark_7:27)

He replied, “It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs" (Matthew_15:26)

Strong's Concordance #2952 kunarion "koo-nar-ee-on": puppy kunaria: puppies, little dogs. The inference was that this were household puppies, to be loved, rather than wild mongrels in the street.

Jesus takes a common household event: Mealtime. It happens twice or thrice a day in every household. And those with household pet puppies are all familiar with the tossing of leftovers to the puppies. It is the natural order of things that the people get to eat first and the pets get the leftovers. All present could relate to that. It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs.
Likewise, in the spreading of the message of redemption, with the limited resources: only one Jesus and only 12 disciples: the message was first to go to God's chosen people, and then later to the rest of the world. It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs.


"Yes Lord" she said, "But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master's table" (Matthew_15:27) "Yes Lord" she replied, "But even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs" (Mark_7:28)

This Gentile lady shows her great courage and conviction. She is hungry for bread: she will not turn away: she seeks not to snatch the loaf from the children’s hands, but is prepared to gather up the crumbs from under the table.


Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! (Matthew_15:28)

This loving mother Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia, Canaanite woman from the vicinity of Sidon and Tyre, was willing to plead for crumbs, and was rewarded by being the second Gentile to be praised for faith.

(The Roman centurion was the first: Matthew_8:10)

These two Gentiles may be seen as our spiritual God parents, for they are trail blazers... showing us that Gentiles do have a precious central place in the kingdom. Indeed the Syrian-Phoenician Greek Canaanite Gentile woman has her words embodied into our holy communion ritual, "for we, who are not so worthy to gather up the crumbs from under thy table..."

In echoing her words, we should echo her true humility and echo her deep conviction and faith.. and Jesus will hear us and respond in His perfect time.


"Your request is granted" And her daughter was healed from that very hour (Matthew_15:28).

Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter." (Mark_7:29)

She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone (Mark_7:30)


If we want to highlight just two phrases:

"even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master's table" Here was humility and faith: hunger for bread, conviction in the saving grace of Jesus.

Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith!"


For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min

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