Sheep and Dogs?

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  • Sheep and Dogs?

    In Matthew 15:24 the Lord says to a Canaanite woman who was seeking His help:
    I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
    But immediately after saying that (Matthew 15:28-39), He 1) chooses to do as she asked and then 2) heads straight into land of the Gentiles to minister to and feed more than 4,000 of the "dogs" there (Matthew 15:26-27).

    My question is, considering what He ended up doing, why do you think the Lord said what He did to the Canaanite woman in v24?

    Thanks!

    Yours in Christ,
    David
    p.s. - here's the entire passage:
    21 Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon.
    22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”
    23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.”
    24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
    25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
    26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
    27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
    28 Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.

    Healing Crowds

    29 Departing from there, Jesus went along by the Sea of Galilee, and having gone up on the mountain, He was sitting there.
    30 And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them.
    31 So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

    Four Thousand Fed

    32 And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, “I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.”
    33 The disciples *said to Him, “Where would we get so many loaves in this desolate place to satisfy such a large crowd?”
    34 And Jesus *said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven, and a few small fish.”
    35 And He directed the people to sit down on the ground;
    36 and He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.
    37 And they all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, seven large baskets full.
    38 And those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.
    39 And sending away the crowds, Jesus got into the boat and came to the region of Magadan. ~Matthew 15
    Last edited by David Lee; 07-14-2016, 01:24 AM.
    Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

    "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

    "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

    "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

    "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon

  • #2
    My 2nd question concerning this involves the Apostles and the Gentiles themselves.

    So, 1) knowing that Jesus ministered to the Nations while He lived among us and 2) knowing what the OT has to say about the eventual scope of the Lord's salvation, and finally 3) knowing what the Lord commanded them to do and what He told them would happen, post-Resurrection/pre-Ascension (i.e. Matthew 28:19-20 & Acts 1:8), why were the Apostles (like St. Peter and the Jewish Believers in Acts 10) and even the Gentiles themselves (in Acts 13:48), so surprised when they found out that the Lord intended to bring salvation to the Gentiles as well?

    Thanks again!!

    Yours in Christ,
    David




    Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

    "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

    "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

    "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

    "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
      In Matthew 15:24 the Lord says to a Canaanite woman who was seeking His help:But immediately after saying that (Matthew 15:28-39), He 1) chooses to do as she asked and then 2) heads straight into land of the Gentiles to minister to and feed more than 4,000 of the "dogs" there (Matthew 15:26-27).

      My question is, considering what He ended up doing, why do you think the Lord said what He did to the Canaanite woman in v24?

      Thanks!

      Yours in Christ,
      David
      p.s. - here's the entire passage:
      Calvin's commentary on Matthew 15:24:

      24 I am not sent. He informs the Apostles that his reason for refusing the woman of Canaan arises out of his desire to devote himself entirely to the Jews to whom alone he was appointed to be a minister of the grace of God. He argues from the call and the command of the Father, that he must not yield any assistance to strangers; not that the power of Christ was always confined within so narrow limits, but because present circumstances rendered it necessary that he should begin with the Jews, and at that time devote himself to them in a peculiar manner. For as I have said in expounding Mat 10:5 , the middle wall of partition (Eph 2:14) was not thrown down till after Christ’s resurrection that he might proclaim peace to the nations which were aliens from the kingdom of God: and therefore he prohibited the Apostles, at that time, from scattering anywhere but in Judea the first seed of doctrine. Justly therefore, does he affirm that, on this occasion, he was sent to the Jews only, till the Gentiles also followed in the proper order.

      To the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He bestows the designation of sheep of the house of Israel not on the elect only, but on all who were descended from the holy fathers; for the Lord had included all in the covenant, and was promised indiscriminately to all as a Redeemer, as he also revealed and offered himself to all without exception. It is worthy of observation, that he declares himself to have been sent to LOST sheep, as he assures us in another passage that he came to save that which was lost, (Mat 18:10-14.) Now as we enjoy this favor, at the present day, in common with the Jews, we learn what our condition is till he appear as our Savior.
      God bless,
      William
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by William View Post
        To the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He bestows the designation of sheep of the house of Israel not on the elect only, but on all who were descended from the holy fathers; for the Lord had included all in the covenant, and was promised indiscriminately to all as a Redeemer, as he also revealed and offered himself to all without exception. It is worthy of observation, that he declares himself to have been sent to LOST sheep, as he assures us in another passage that he came to save that which was lost, (Mat 18:11.) Now as we enjoy this favor, at the present day, in common with the Jews, we learn what our condition is till he appear as our Savior.
        Hi William, if not for Calvin's acknowledgment of the "elect", that statement could be taken as making a case for UN-Limited Atonement (in fact, I'm bett'n that those who like to try to make him into a 4-pointer probably use that statement for that purpose ;))

        That said, as great as his commentary on this passage is (and unless I'm missing it, which in my case is always possible :rolleyes:) I'm still left wondering about the same two things, 1) why the Lord made the emphatic statement that He did in v24 to the Canaanite woman (dog), but then seemed to immediately do what He said He would not (IOW, minister to Gentiles) and 2) why both the Apostles and the Gentiles themselves were "stunned" to find out that the Lord chose to include them with the Jews and "bring salvation to the end of the earth" .. Acts 13:47 (and especially so in the case of the Apostles, since He said what He did to them just prior to His Ascension concerning the Nations .. i.e. Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

        Yours in Christ,
        David
        Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

        "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

        "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

        "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

        "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
        Comment>

        • #5
          Hope I am answering your question as you wished, David. I had to give this some thought, and wrote this as my thoughts flowed on the subject as they came, though I haven't gone into your second series of questions, I wanted to post my thoughts to make sure I'm on track:

          Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
          I'm still left wondering about the same two things, 1) why the Lord made the emphatic statement that He did in v24 to the Canaanite woman (dog), but then seemed to immediately do what He said He would not (IOW, minister to Gentiles) and 2) why both the Apostles and the Gentiles themselves were "stunned" to find out that the Lord chose to include them with the Jews and "bring salvation to the end of the earth" .. Acts 13:47 (and especially so in the case of the Apostles, since He said what He did to them just prior to His Ascension concerning the Nations .. i.e. Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

          Yours in Christ,
          David
          I think, to answer your first question, this is a reoccurring theme in the gospel. Immediately what comes to mind are the times when Jesus suggest "my time is not yet".

          Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
          But immediately after saying that (Matthew 15:28-39), He 1) chooses to do as she asked and then
          For example, at the wedding when Jesus turned water into wine:
          • John 2:4 4 “Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”


          And here we seem to find, from inference, that Jesus left Judea, once He learned the Pharisees heard.... it almost appears Jesus avoided them. Could we infer that His time was not yet or that He was trying to control the timing of things?
          • John 4:1-3 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.


          Lets look at John 7:
          • 7 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want[a] to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him. 6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not[b] going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.

          We also see this occurring in:
          • John 6:15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.15
          • John 7:30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.
          • John 8:20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
          • John 12:23 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
          • John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.


          To answer your question more directly, the children get fed first at the Master's table. Prophetically, Jesus had to fulfill prophecy to the Jews first.

          Also, I find the Samaritan woman at the well being drawn to Jesus much the same way it appears that the Canaanite woman was being drawn to Jesus. Apparently, Jesus putting off the Canaanite woman was a test of faith, though he was not toying with her. Jesus in both cases had drawn faith from both of these women. Both cases, these women became one of the earliest Gentiles to enter the kingdom.

          Am I answering your question rightly, David?

          God bless,
          William
          Comment>

          • #6
            Hi William, I apologize, I wasn't in a rush for an answer. Let me consider what you've just said and I'll get back to you. I am wondering whether I have assumed something I should not have all these years about Jesus' 'actual' meaning in v24, not unlike your pointing out of a different exegetical possibility for Matthew 5:48 :)

            The second question's surprise (the one concerning the Apostles) is even more "surprising" to me considering what they witnessed while they were with Him (concerning the Gentiles) and, as I said earlier, what they were told and commanded to do by Him concerning the people of the Nations (in verses like Matthew 28:19-20 & Acts 1:8).

            Thanks!

            In Christ,
            David
            Last edited by David Lee; 07-16-2016, 07:33 PM.
            Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

            "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

            "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

            "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

            "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
            Comment>

            • #7
              One is a fulfillment of prophecy I think . . .
              . . .there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.
              It had been decreed that Jesus do some of His work in Galilee and do it He had to. As for the "dog" reference as William points out, it had to be a test of faith. Everyone who seeks anything from God must be humble. Would the Canaanite woman be too proud to admit that sinners were vile in the presence of God? Her humility and faith got her what she wanted.
              Comment>
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