Even The Dogs Eat The Crumbs That Fall From Their Master’s Table.

She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” — Matthew 15:27.

I was reading a commentary on the story of the gentile woman who asks that Jesus heal her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28). Jesus’s response was very un christlike. “He tells her he was called to only serve “the House of Israel” and that it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs. Now I don’t know about you, but I read this at first to be a real slap at gentiles. Is Jesus saying his message only for a chosen few? The passage at first is very troublesome.

So I spent some time with this one, knowing that God doesn’t play favorites or say anything without a purpose. Remember right before Jesus speaks his disciples had told him to “send her away,” this gentile was bothering them by shouting, “Have mercy on me.” But Jesus doesn’t send her on her way, and he uses her to teach his disciples a lesson. For the first time it isn’t Jesus who gets the upper hand, but it is the gentile woman who tells him and his disciples that even the dogs are entitled to a few crumbs. Jesus then rewards and praises her by saying “great is your faith” and immediately heals his daughter.

I wonder what Jesus said to his disciples afterwords, did he scold them for thinking anyone is not worth of God’s grace? Matthew at least got the message because he records the incident despite the fact that the woman got the better of his master.

How often do we feel we are not worthy? How often do we judge others as not being worthy. The answer to both is probably — “too many.”

Speaking of crumbs. The commentary mentioned a Baptist minister named Will Campbell, and since at that time I was in full research mode, I looked him up. A link to his biography is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_D._Campbell. In 1957, while working for the National Council of Churches, Campbell participated in two notable events of the Civil Rights Movement: he was one of four people who escorted the black students who integrated the Little Rock, Arkansas, public schools; and he was the only white person present at the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Later in his ministry he realized he had begun to despise racial bigots and he saw how easy it was to take sides. He began to do something about it that raises the hackles of the civil rights movement. He started drinking whiskey with members of the Klan, officiated at their weddings and their funerals. He said, “God doesn’t play favorites. How can I?” I spent quite a bit of time reading about Will Campbell. One thing I found fascinating was that he was the inspiration for the famous cartoon character “Will B. Dunn” in the comic strip “Kudzu,” one of my all time favorites.

Will Campbell practiced what he preached. A lesson by example for me, and for us all.


About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.

1 Comment +

  1. Thank you, out of all commentaries regarding this passage of scripture, you are the only one who truly gets it! Blessings to you Brother !

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