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Politically Incorrect Jesus

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  • Politically Incorrect Jesus

    I am trying to wrap my head around Matthew 15 where Jesus told the woman it isn't right to throw the children's bread to "dogs" .

    25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 But Jesus replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27“Yes, Lord,” she said, “even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”…

    So that is blowing my mind. Surely Jesus isn't racist is he? Is he suggesting that this woman just isn't the kind of person he would help? I was reading this while looking up information about how Jesus would treat the needy people who approached him. The thread about panhandlers got me thinking, literally, "What would Jesus do?" I was reading how Jesus treated the myriad of characters who approached him for help. I was looking for any evidence that Jesus turned anyone away. What did Jesus mean by this? Why did he say it? It seems the woman won Jesus with her faith.

    I guess maybe Jesus was politically incorrect on some occasions. What do you think he meant by calling this woman a dog? What other things did Jesus say that would be considered politically incorrect by today's standards? I know these are really random thoughts. I wasn't sure where to post it, so thought I'd mention it here where the thread that brought all this thinking about was posted.


  • #2
    In Cana, Jesus response His mother:
    Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
    It's no different from the way he addressed the Canaanite woman. Jesus wasn't being racist else He wouldn't have commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. His mission at that time was to preach strictly to Jews. However because she believed He could heal her daughter, she got what she desired.
    What do you think he meant by calling this woman a dog?
    I believe her faith was being tested.
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by bluebetta View Post
      What do you think he meant by calling this woman a dog?
      Scripture interprets Scripture:
      • Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

      Just putting this here for consideration. Those outside of Christ are dogs.

      God bless,
      William
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by William View Post
        Scripture interprets Scripture:
        • Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
        Just putting this here for consideration. Those outside of Christ are dogs.

        God bless,
        William
        William you make an interesting point but I would like to point something out concerning the Greek. In Rev. 22:15 the Greek word is κύων and refers to a street dog (i.e. a wild dog), and in the LXX the word is sometimes used in a figurative sense referring to a prostitute or to one who is sexually promiscuous.

        However, in Matt. 15:26-27 and Mark 7:27-28 the Greek word is κυνάριον. Obviously the two words are related (i.e. κύων and κυνάριον) but their meanings are not exactly the same. The word κυνάριον is the diminutive form of κύων. Thus it is a little dog (i.e. referring to a house dog, a lap dog, a pet dog). With this understand of the word, some scholars have suggest that the language Jesus' used was not really as harsh as it appears. One thing is clear, κύων is a much more harsh term than κυνάριον.
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by Origen View Post
          William you make an interesting point but I would like to point something out concerning the Greek. In Rev. 22:15 the Greek word is κύων and refers to a street dog (i.e. a wild dog), and in the LXX the word is sometimes used in a figurative sense referring to a prostitute or to one who is sexually promiscuous.

          However, in Matt. 15:26-27 and Mark 7:27-28 the Greek word is κυνάριον. Obviously the two words are related (i.e. κύων and κυνάριον) but their meanings are not exactly the same. The word κυνάριον is the diminutive form of κύων. Thus it is a little dog (i.e. referring to a house dog, a lap dog, a pet dog). With this understand of the word, some scholars have suggest that the language Jesus' used was not really as harsh as it appears. One thing is clear, κύων is a much more harsh term than κυνάριον.
          Thank you, but just to clarify should this change my thinking? Lap dog or street dog, they are still dogs. Some thoughts, the Gentiles were outside, and the difference between a house or street dog could be compared to those outside of Christ, as being brought into the Master's house (the visible church). The street dog is brought into the gates, called into the house, cleaned up and domesticated. Though called, once Justified they are adopted, that is, they are the Master's children. I realize my post is nothing more than wandering, but it was what I had in mind initially, perhaps sparked by the colorful imagery of the words being used.
          • Revelation 22:14-17 Blessed are those who wash their robes,[e] so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.


          Your thoughts?

          But before you do, I consider Jesus' words pretty harsh at times. Here's someone else' take on a different forum. I think Dodd's thoughts are provoking, and at times I wish I could capture Jesus' tone during his conversations:

          by Patton Dodd

          The Jesus I know, the Jesus I love, is uniformly kind, caring, sacrificial, wise, supernaturally powerful. I’ve read the gospels regularly for over a year now and have found this Jesus reliably present. But now, for some reason, as I turn the crinkling, red-and-black inked pages in the lighting booth, a new, sterner Jesus suddenly and forcefully comes into view. A Jesus who is unhelpful. Intentionally confusing. Rude.

          When Jesus saw the crowd around Him, He gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to Him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another disciple said to Him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead” (Matthew 8:18–22).

          This is not the Jesus I know, not the Great Lover, the Provider of My Every Need. My Jesus is desperate to save souls. He is desirous of helping people receive His love. He is passionate for everybody, and He is so glad when we acknowledge that passion and dwell in it. He is happy when we are happy. But is the Jesus in these passages that same figure?

          I am fine with Jesus being critical of His criticizers. He is hard on the Pharisees and Sadducees because they are legalists who want to control people. I cheer Jesus on as He chastises them and uses their own Scriptures against them. I even understand why he pledges to bring not peace but a sword to the earth. He says He has come to turn family members against one another, that households will be torn apart because of Him. I can appreciate this because I have seen it happen — friends who accept Jesus against their parents’ agnostic will, and such.

          But Jesus’ harsh criticisms also reach into places I do not expect. After one parable, Jesus’ friend Peter asks for an explanation. “Are you still so dull?” Jesus snaps. Worse, Jesus appears to dishonor His own family. Once when someone tells Jesus that His mother and brothers are standing outside and waiting to see Him, Jesus replies, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” He suggests that His true family is “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 12:46–50). I see His point, but does He have to ignore His mom? And how does this fit with my understanding of a God who wants everyone to be a part of a loving family, a God who focuses on the family and wants us to do the same?

          Turning more crinkly pages, I read — as if for the first time — the story of Jesus calling a Canaanite woman a dog. She cries out to Him to deliver her daughter of demonic possession. “Jesus did not answer a word,” says Matthew (15:23). The Great lover ignores her cries. The woman doesn’t let up, and finally, Jesus’ disciples beg Him to do something to shut her up. “Send her away,” they plead. “She keeps crying after us.” Jesus will have none of it. Why? Because the woman isn’t a Jew. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” Even when the woman forces her way to Jesus, kneels at His feet, and cries, “Lord, help me!” Jesus is unmoved. “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs,” He says.

          No, not says. He mutters. He snipes. He sneers. I try to imagine the way He must have spoken to her. Could He have said it lovingly? Please oh God, show me how He must have said this lovingly. But I know He didn’t.

          It’s right there on the page, plain to see. I’ve read Matthew a hundred times and never noticed it, but tonight it is leaping from the page.

          Fortunately, the Gentile dog is ready with a witty retort. “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

          Jesus likes this. “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” Her daughter, adds Matthew, was healed that very hour.

          He rewards her faith in spite of her ethnicity. Maybe it is all about faith, but this kind of faith, faith-as-token, faith-as-ticket, is not what I expected from my journey into faith, not what I expected from Jesus.

          There’s more. Jesus doesn’t always appear to want people to understand His parables (Matthew 13). So far from trying desperately to help people understand that He is the Savior of their souls, Jesus obscures the truth. He predicts quick death and destruction for people who won’t believe the disciples’ preaching (Matthew 10). He cries out against the cities that don’t repent after He performs miracles (Matthew 11).

          I can make sense of some of this. Of course Jesus is mad at people who don’t repent after He heals diseases right before their eyes. Of course He becomes frustrated with the silly disciples who have to be told everything ten, twenty, fifty times before they get it. But still, on the basis of everything else I’ve learned about Jesus from CCM and Quiet Time devotionals, the gospels are nothing short of scandalous. Jesus storms through the pages of Matthew in a way I have never seen before, and I am frightened by it. My stomach clenches. I would cry if I were not so horrified. Why has this stuff not been explained to me? I am attending a Christian university. We should be talking about this!
          Some of Christ's politically incorrect remarks:
          • "DOGS" Matt. 7:6 Jesus said, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs" (see also 2 Peter 2:20-22, Rev. 22:15)"SWINE" Matt. 7:6 "...neither cast your pearls before swine"
          • "VIPERS" Matt. 3:7 "O generation of vipers..." (see also Matt. 12:34, 23:33 and Luke 3:7)
          • "HYPOCRITES" Matt.6:2 "...as the hypocrites in the synagogues..." (see also Matt.6:5, 16, 15:7, 16:3, 22:18, 23:13-15, 29, 24:51, Mark 7:6, Luke 11:44, 12:56)
          • "CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL" John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil..." (see also Acts 13:10)
          • "PERVERSE" Mat. 17:17"...O faithless and perverse generation" (see also Luke 9:41, Acts 20:30, Phil. 2:15, 1Tim. 6:5)
          • "REPROBATE" 2Cor 13:5-7 "...except ye be reprobates" (see also Rom 1:28, 2Tim. 3:8, Tit. 1:16)
          • "HEATHEN" Mat. 6:7 "...as the heathen do" (see also Mat.18:17, Act 4:25, 2Cor. 11:26, Gal. 1:16, 2:9, 3:8)
          • "FOOLS" Mat. 23:17 "...Ye fools and blind" (see also Luke 12:20, 1Cor.15:36, Mat.23:19, Luke 11:40, 24:25, Eph. 5:15)
          • "WICKED AND ADULTEROUS" Mat. 16:4 "A wicked and adulterous generation" (see also Mat. 12:45, 13:49, 18:32, 21:41, 25:26, Luke 19:22, 1Cor. 5:13, 2Thes. 3:2, 2Pet. 2:7, 3:17)


          God bless,
          William
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by William View Post
            Thank you, but just to clarify should this change my thinking? Lap dog or street dog, they are still dogs.
            True but there is a difference between a wild dog and house dog. Note that the doges to which Jesus refers eat the scraps\crumbs from the table. Thus pointing to a house dog. Should it change your thinking? Perhaps. Note how the word (i.e. κύων) is used in other passages. Take for example Rev. 22:15. There the word is listed with sorcerers, the sexually immoral, murderers etc. Also note how it is sometimes used in the LXX in a figurative sense referring to a prostitute or to one who is sexually promiscuous.

            The noun κύων is used 5 times in the N.T. Twice it is used of actual dog(s) (i.e. Luke 16:21 and 2 Pet. 2:22?). The other times it used figuratively.

            The noun κυνάριον is used four times in the N.T., twice in Matt. 15:26-27 and twice in its parallel Mark 7:27-28. Jesus could have used the very harsh word κύων but didn't and it is not as if he does not use it. In Matt. 7:6 he says: "Do not give dogs (i.e. κύων) what is holy... Thus I have to ask, why? Why does Jesus use κυνάριον rather than κύων? The terms are not used in the same way.

            Originally posted by William View Post
            But before you do, I consider Jesus words pretty harsh at times.
            Oh, no doubt. Jesus often used very harsh language. That I am not denying.
            Last edited by Origen; 07-21-2016, 10:46 AM.
            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by Origen View Post
              Thus I have to ask, why? Why does Jesus use κυνάριον rather than κύων? The terms are not used in the same way.
              Thank you for your well written response!

              God bless,
              William
              Comment>

              • #8
                To know what's going on in that part of scripture it's important to know who were the Canaanites and how the Jews were connected which shows that the Canaanites were outside the faith and the group of peoples that God set apart to make holy. Knowing this makes Jesus' statement toward the woman understandable instead of seeing him as being rude, which he wasn't and we see that Jesus encouraged the woman as God does to all of us. The woman wouldn't let up because she did have faith and we see Jesus' great love and mercy which went beyond only the Jews and proves that Jesus isn't only to save Jews but has Love and Mercy for all.
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Part of the problem is the innate human flaw that we think more highly of ourselves than we ought.
                  Why would Jesus talk so mean to the Cananite woman? ... frankly because she deserved it.

                  They (Cananites) saw the truth for centuries and treated it with contempt. They WERE dogs living in the promised land.
                  What we miss is that the children of Israel were no better. The wonder is that Jesus didn't treat everyone he met with the contempt they (and we) deserved. So great is His Patience and Mercy, that we are shocked by those rare occasions when we catch even the slightest glimpse of God's Holy Justice.

                  It is the gift of perspective that people like me have the privilege to bring to the body of Christ. When God chooses someone who carries the memories of enemies set on fire, and washes the blood and guilt from our hands, we carry no delusions that we were ever 'good people' or somehow deserved any kindness. We can then learn of how truly Holy God is and see that even the best of you others, are not that much better off than the worst of the sinners.

                  God's kindness to Israel was because of God's promise, not Israel's merit. The Cananite woman is a reminder that the world as a whole enjoys no such promise. God owes us nothing. This makes his Grace all the more Amazing: Towards the Cananite Woman (whose faith Scripture tells us was also a gift from God) and towards us.
                  Comment>
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