Syrophoenician Woman

Amy Curran

Read: Mark 7:24-30

. . . yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs. (v. 28)

The Syrophoenician woman was not on a journey. Jesus was the one journeying this time—he came straight to her hometown. However, this woman was experiencing a wilderness of despair. Her daughter had been overcome by demons. The desperate mother marched into the home where Jesus was staying and begged him to attend to her daughter.

In response to her desperation, Jesus said, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs” (v. 27). That is, she wasn’t Jewish. Jesus’ statement seems shockingly out of character for him. He, the compassionate healer who eats with “sinners,” seemingly refused to help this woman because she had the wrong pedigree. However, this woman, emboldened by faith or fear or both, in essence bluntly replied, “You’ve got power to spare—I’m not asking for much.” For her seemingly brazen response, Jesus rewarded the woman and healed her daughter.

Why did Jesus respond to this woman in this way and grant her request? Jesus didn’t commend her faith, as he did with so many others. Rather, he praised her quick-witted retort. While I find myself confused by this story, I love it. It reminds me that it’s okay to be desperate and to fight for what I need. It also reminds me that it’s okay to be bold before God, and that God works even for those who don’t have any option but to deny protocol to survive. —Amy Curran

As you pray, be emboldened to ask for what you need.