Eating the children’s crumbs

“Is there hope for me here?” “Filled FIRST?” “Then my turn, it seems, is coming!—but then, ‘The CHILDREN first?’ Ah! when, on that rule, shall my turn ever come!” But ere she has time for these ponderings of His word, another word comes to supplement it. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

The infamous story of a woman who heard the words from Jesus as an invitation to hope.

Jesus looking for something deep inside this mother asking for her daughter to be healed suggested that the domestic nature of the home required the dogs to wait until the meal is over before they receive their portion.  But her need for Jesus to heal her daughter gave her a keen wit where she filled in a blank that He left on purpose – reminding Him that dogs are permitted to eat the crumbs even while the meal is in progress.  She knew there was more.

Just in case this story is new to some, it may seem that Jesus was being prejudicial against Gentiles.  No, this woman saw Jesus drawing her into His parable and her hope was in the word, first. The blessings of the kingdom of God did not exclusively belong to the people of Israel.

Jesus saw a woman before Him and saw that she looked to Him as her only hope.  He saw that she would not be deterred. She pushed through knowing that only Jesus could give her what she needed. Jesus loved her for this and gave her all that she asked for and desired.

For me, Jesus first sentence would have been a rejection and the death of any of my hopes – but for her it was life from the dead.  If Jesus had kept silent, only then would she leave unblessed, but He spoke and that turn of respect meant that she had the open door to hope for more.

Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.  He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”  But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”  Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” – Mark 7:26-29

 

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Walk in newness of life

To have a new life and to move and act in that new life means we are now operating with new principles and under new powers as those who have been justified and have now a new hope because of a new birth.

This walk can be quite difficult – and it helps to know that the glory of the resurrection and the complete putting off of the flesh lies before us.

The Father pronounced His final victory over sin and over death as He raised Jesus from the dead.  We join in that victory as Christ leads us into our new life – not just a different lifestyle; rather one operating from a completely redefined perspective. We are actually made new by and through our relationship with Christ. Again, this does not take away what our walk looks like or the intensity of our struggle that we will encounter.  But it does determine that there is now hope and there is a promise of victory as Christ enfolds us into His resurrection.  Our new walk is one that is done daily with God.

That is why life that has been freely given by grace is not an invitation to sin.  Our hope in a future resurrection makes itself known with the life we live now – one where sin has been put to death and we walk in newness and righteousness of life.

 It is this very promise that one day we will share in this victory that gives us the desire and power to overcome sin right now.

 “Sin can’t enslave a person who is utterly confident and sure and hope-filled in the infinite happiness of life with Christ in the future.” – John Piper

1 Peter 1:3 reminds us that living means our hope is rock solid. Our salvation can be described in the past, present and future.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. – Romans 6:3-4

Jesus Lives, and So Shall I – ChurchFolk

Free from hopelessness

Jesus met a man named Levi who happened to be a tax collector. The encounter was an amazing illustration of love from Jesus, not only meant for Levi but for all sinners and a clear model of how we followers of Christ are to live.  The story starts in a public setting and in front of this large crowd of people surrounding Levi who is doing business, Jesus calls him out to follow Him – Levi, a man from a particularly hated class of people – to follow Him.  One had to wonder what Jesus was thinking at the time because tax collectors were the scorn of the religious leaders and accordingly, Levi had no hope – he was excommunicated from all religious fellowship.

It was a simple enough invitation – and the invitation to come back into fellowship with God that set Levi free.  It set the scene for one big dinner party where Levi wanted all his friends and fellow sinners to meet the One who set him free from hopelessness.  The guest of honour was Jesus Himself and he never hesitated.  That was His pattern – if the religious leaders avoided, He and His disciples were pleased to attend.  How else was the Good News of the Kingdom of God to be shared with those who needed that good news?

You imagine our own scene today if were to gather at such a party.  Most of our trouble would come from those who are a bit overly devoted to legalism and the appearance of righteousness.  Unfortunately, many would not accept an invitation to such a dinner party.

Choice is rather straight forward – keep to those who are just like us or meet the lost and broken where they live, sharing the hope of the Gospel and the forgiveness of sins.  Jesus showed us how to live that night at Levi’s dinner party.  We are to share the good news with those who need it, in humility and gratitude that we have been set free.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. – 1 Corinthians 15:10

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”  Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” – Luke 5:27-32

7 BIBLE VERSES FOR WHEN LIFE SEEMS HOPELESS

Scriptures Against Hopelessness

Psalm 146: The Source of Hope

Five Pursuits to Lead You Out of Chronic Hopelessness