It Takes a Woman


As a semi-regular church goer, a person who considers herself a Christian and who tries (and often fails) to be a good person, part of today's scripture lesson really jumped out at me.  I'm talking about Mark 7:24-30.  

"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. 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. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

“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.”

“Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.

 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone."

It jumps out at me because, it put it plainly, Jesus comes off as a bit (maybe more than a bit) of a dickwad.  Yes, I just said that my Lord and Savior was a dick. As they say, sorry, not sorry.  I mean WTF was he thinking?  He compares this woman's child to a dog?  Not cool Jesus, not cool.  

Of course during this time (and sadly continuing onward), women have been treated as second class citizens.  Jesus, as I have been taught, is fully (hu)man and fully God.  Initially he act/reacts as a man of his time might.  The woman has several strikes against here.  First, she is a woman.  If that isn't bad enough, she is not of his faith.  And so he first treats her as such.  She is "beneath" him.  

However, because she IS a woman; because she IS a mother she presses forward.  Women may be called the weaker sex (by those who obviously know no better), but this woman (dare I call her a mama bear?), is not one to give up. (To quote Helen Reddy:  "I am woman, hear me roar.") She appeals to him; using a well thought out reply, "even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."  She doesn't curse, she doesn't pull a hissy fit; she uses her brains.  She is quick on her feet to reply (a trait of which I am jealous.)  She uses logic 

Those words of logic seemingly bring Jesus back to a Godly mindset.  Is this a turning point for the ministry?  Perhaps it might be.  Here the person asking for healing is NOT of the Jewish faith and is NOT a man.  In my mind, Jesus' teachings are for ALL people who are open to hear them.  It seems that this was not always the case, at least until this point.

It takes a woman.  A woman who has the faith and the words to do whatever she must to heal her child; a girl.  Jesus uses this moment to let his "human" side be awoken.  To be aware that the teachings are not just for men and not just for people of one faith; that the word and love of God is for all who will hear and act.  It is a divine moment of awareness and it changes everything.

It takes a woman.  It takes a woman of faith.  It takes a woman of thought.  It takes a woman of action.  It takes a woman of courage.  From there, the world can and does change.


  1. Not that it makes it any better - but I was always taught that He was referring to the Jewish people as the children, and non-Jews as "the dogs" in that story, and His words as "the food." The dog comparison seems harsh today, but He was using an analogy to represent non-Jews as an underclass to Jews. I was also taught that He was probably testing her faith by pushing back and using a harsh analogy, yet she replied, full of faith, that (paraphrasing) even non-Jews hunger for His word. And so, her faith was rewarded. We find similar interactions at the well (another non-Jewish woman demonstrating her faith after an initial push-back) and in the parable of the good samaritan, where He is making the point to his Jewish followers that *all* are to able be saved.

    Hope that makes you feel a little better about his dickish answer. :-)


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