Children and Crumbs: What dirty highchairs teach us about the gospel
It had been a long day, and Jesus needed a moment alone. But news of his arrival in Tyre had already spread, and the first to find him was a woman--a Gentile woman. Her daughter was possessed by a demon; she was desperate. She had heard her Jewish neighbors discussing ancient prophecies of a Savior, a "Messiah" in their language: a Christ. "Anointed One." If the prophecies were true--and if Jesus was this Christ--she knew he could help her daughter.
Pressing her forehead to the ground, she begged Jesus for mercy. His answer shouldn't have come as a surprise to her, but for some reason it did. "Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." Only then did it dawn on her that the Jews worshipped only one God. Of course. She should have assumed such a lone God would only have one people. She rose to her feet and slowly turned to leave. Emotions washed through her heart like a thousand rivers. Stories from her childhood raced through her memory:
In the story of Israel crossing the Red Sea, it was almost as if their God had enticed the Egyptian army to pursue them, just so the oppressors could witness his grand miracle. In another story, Israel's God forbid them to use any weapons in a siege against the great fortress of Jericho. Why would he disarm his people like that except to demonstrate his own strength to the Canaanites? Another time, God told a man named Gideon to send 22,000 men home and go to battle with a mere 300 men, with nothing but noise-makers. Their God won that battle for them, too, and news of His victory spread throughout the world.
Yes, the God of Israel loved the whole world, enough to reveal himself to them, over and over. She knew it. In a sudden flash of courage, she turned around and told everyone what she now knew to be true.
"Yes, Lord; but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." She couldn't hide her confident hope. It shone through her eyes and the tears she was trying to suppress.
Jesus' face broke into a smile, and her tears began to fall freely. Their eyes met. The radiance in his expression told her she had discovered Truth. "For this statement, you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter."
...And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone. (Mark 7:30)
Have you thought about this story? It troubled me for a long time, until I realized how abundantly Jesus rewards her for her statement. It's as if he exclaims, "That's it! That's the whole point! You said it perfectly, my child." After all, hasn't this been God's plan since the beginning? Children drop crumbs. It's inevitable whenever they're enjoying something they love, something they have more than enough of. As a mother, I know: Whatever it is, it will be everywhere by the time they're done with it!
It forces me to stop and think, is the hope of the Gospel getting everywhere in my life? Think of God's original covenant with Abraham:
“Go from your country... to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen 12:1-3, emphasis mine)
How is the blessing of God in my life overflowing to those around me? From the beginning, the blessing of Yahweh has always been too much to be contained. It must spread. It must overflow, spilling out to everyone who witnesses His great miracles, the greatest of which is salvation: The Gospel. God has adopted us as sons (Rom 8:15), he has grafted us into his plan (Is 19:19-24; Rom 11.19), and he sacrificed his own blood to do it (1 Pet 1:18-20).
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Php 2:9-11, emphasis mine)
Lord, I want your grace and truth to overflow in everything I do. Let me immerse myself in your word like that. I want the "crumbs" of the Gospel to fall off every table I sit at and everything I touch. For Your glory. Amen.