BPotW Loaves and Crumbs (Mark 7:24-30)

Welcome to Wondercafe2!

A community where we discuss, share, and have some fun together. Join today and become a part of it!

Bible Passage of the Week

paradox3

Well-Known Member
Pronouns
She/Her/Her
And bread is an important metaphor in the bible.

But then, so are scraps. Does this relate in any way to the loaves and fishes stories?
Been thinking about this.
Also the last supper
Plus the line about our daily bread in the prayer Jesus taught
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
Pronouns
She/Her/Her
Hmmm...is Jesus suggesting that even scraps/crumbs of himself, the Bread of Life, is sufficient to heal the gentiles?

Also, as a keen student of mental illness (from the family exposure POV), what do we do with "demons" and their "cure"?
 

paradox3

Well-Known Member
Pronouns
She/Her/Her
Have been wondering (in general terms) if there are times when crumbs suffice
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
Pronouns
She/Her/Her
Like when you're managing okay, but then you hit a little bump, ask for help, and things smooth out?
 

paradox3

Well-Known Member
Pronouns
She/Her/Her
Had a GP years ago who remarked, "It doesn't take much to be a human being."
Great guy. Jewish as a matter of fact.
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
Pronouns
She/Her/Her
If everyone offered to make two pleasant positive comments per day, the world would be completely different.

P3, I'm really enjoying our gentle, give-and-take "what if" observations on this thread!

*Bette scurries off to find someone else to be pleasant to...FB is always an option!*
 

Redbaron

Pirate fan since the dark ages
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Does anyone think this encounter is a turning point in Jesus's ministry?
Interesting thought, that. It could be a big moment. It may also have been an eye-opener for the first readers, especially those of Jewish background, to see Jesus crossing a boundary, in healing this non-Jewish woman's daughter?
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
Pronouns
She/Her/Her
Interesting thought, that. It could be a big moment. It may also have been an eye-opener for the first readers, especially those of Jewish background, to see Jesus crossing a boundary, in healing this non-Jewish woman's daughter?

I don't think so. Judaism is not a converting religion. They apparently welcomed righteous gentiles into their synagogues.

Is it interesting that the mother asked, not the father?
 

GordW

Church-Geek-Oramus
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Does anyone think this encounter is a turning point in Jesus's ministry?
I remeber hearing an interpretation once (on the WOrkingPReacher podcast this fall I think) the this episode seems to hasten Jesus' turning his ministry to include the Gentiles around him. Not that he wsa not heading that way but maybe this spurs a move in that direction.
 

GordW

Church-Geek-Oramus
Pronouns
He/Him/His
I don't think so. Judaism is not a converting religion. They apparently welcomed righteous gentiles into their synagogues.

Is it interesting that the mother asked, not the father?
ANd yet Judaism does have guidelines for those who wish to convertt and not just be righteous Gentiles.
Possibly the woman is widowed? PErhaps the child is a result of sexual assault? Perhaps the family has been deserted? The text says nothing about a father.
 

Mystic

Well-Known Member
The story stands in the prophetic tradition where the prophet first insults the supplicant to test their potential for healing faith. For example, Elisha refuses to come out of his house for an audience with General Naaman, sending a servant instead. The servant deepens the insult by conveying Elisha's instruction to dunk himself 7 times in the filthy Jordan River. This dual insult enrages Naaman, but one of his soldiers urges him to give it a try. till enraged, Naaman humbly complies and his leprosy is cured! My sermon on 2 Kings 5 was thus entitled "Raging Faith" and I discussed other examples of Jesus' rage in His healing ministry.

Jesus is gladly bested in His rhetorical skirmish with the Gentile woman and, in the end, reveals the test by praising her faith ("For saying that.."--Mark; "Woman, great is your faith!"--Matthew). The woman was forced to persevere and Jesus teaches that persevering is a key condition to effective faith for healing (see e.g. Luke 11;5-8).

In the 19th century, Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission that made him perhaps the most spiritually effective Protestant missionaries of all time. When asked about the key to his miraculous success, he intriguingly replied, "I learned that I could receive my greatest answers to prayer when my heart felt like wood." When it seemed like God was routinely kicking him in the head, he persevered and an impressed God often responded dramatically.
 

Mrs.Anteater

Just keep going....
First of all, this isn’t Jesus’ diary but written by Mark, so there is some intention behind it by the writer and the attitude of his time. The comparison of children vs dogs could be one of them.
But if we go with that story, why is Jesus so reluctant? Is he tired or annoyed? Does it cost him any energy to heal someone and that’s why he is talking about giving to the children first?
Does it require the woman to agree to be the underdog in order to have her daughter healed?
I think, this story tells more about Mark grappling with the fact that Jesus didn’t make a difference between one human being and another, and he needed to put a “ we are still the chosen ones” - spin on it.
 

revjohn

Well-Known Member
Do you think she persuaded Jesus to change his mind? As his ministry expands to include a Gentile woman, is Jesus growing in wisdom and self-awareness?
No. I don't.

As others have pointed out Jesus does not refuse her. He does share priorities. The language employed is abrasive. I don't think we should read into scripture because of that. I do think we should allow scripture to read us at that moment. Because I think our response to the exchange should be prompting us to do some further reflection on who we are and what we are about.

Dog is rarely ever used as a term of endearment.

I love dogs, I don't use the term as one of affection. I don't call my beloved puppy or pooch or whatever. I don't whistle, snap fingers or pat thigh at her. She knows how much I love my dogs. She would not be thrilled to be compared to one. Nor would the kids. Qball pretends he is a dog from time to time so part of the game is treating him like one. When he isn't pretending he gets upset at that game.

And yet, the exchange doesn't tell us anything of tone. It doesn't tell us that both Jesus and the woman were both smiling or not. All of that belongs to our imagination and it is the text pulling the strings.

Jesus introduces the term dog.

She doesn't chafe at the term, certainly the text doesn't make it obvious that she was offended. She plays along making an appeal to grace.

She'd be happy for just a crumb and we are indignant on her behalf. Though nothing in the text tells us she was offended. She has come for help and she is not going to leave until she gets it. Jesus is busy feeding the kids. She is not asking for an equal portion, she isn't demanding to be seated at the table. She does ask for a crumb. A speck of insignificant proportion, something those at the table will brush aside rather than pick it up and place it back on their own plate. Why wouldn't they? Because they are content with their abundance.

Dogs, I have noticed, have different reactions to crumbs. Most notice them fall and most will cross a room to inspect them. If they sit closer to the table they might get impatient as the meal wears on and nothing is dropped. I had one dog that was so attentive that nothing falling from the table hit the floor and we might not have noticed something had fallen until the snap of jaws alerted us to the fact that a morsel was no more. We also had a dog that snuck a piece of pizza off of a plate while we were all seated at the table and nobody noticed until she started running off with it.

And while all the crumbs swept off the table couldn't combine to form one tiny piece of dry dog food the tail wags, and lips are licked and the face turns up hoping for more.

When we aren't at the table dogs don't constantly moan for food. Whenever you go into the fridge or turn on the hockey game they are conditioned to know that a goody might drop.

I've had dogs more appreciative of burnt toast crumbs than kids were appreciative of the meal that took hours to prepare.

Is the point of the text to tell us that Jesus learned a valuable lesson.

or,

Is the point of the text to teach us one?

Not mutually exclusive aims though I think the second is always a priority.

So what do we learn?

Some of the things I have learned are:

Whether I think of people in terms of children or dogs all are looking to God to be fed.
All looking to be fed will be happy with various amounts, some require a full portion and some are happy with much less.
None around the table and none under the table are denied.
Even the skintest bit of God's grace can lead to substantive change.
Sometimes Jesus uses language to deliberately get our attention.
 

paradox3

Well-Known Member
Pronouns
She/Her/Her
If the bread (or food) and the crumbs are used metaphorically, what do you think they represent?

Jesus's power to heal? Jesus himself? Compassion? God's grace?

Or maybe something else? Could it be all of the above?
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
Humans learn in this way in bits and bytes because ... well they just don't like intelligence ... they'd rather not know!

Consequence? Just look about ... pleasant quickly turns awesome and full ... rendered down to awful! That's the word I hear when looking over creation ...

The sol is darker and more beautiful ... it has concerns ... many pious folk couldn't care less ... as long as they envision themselves winners!

Falls right in with avarice in the Lexus!
 

Mystic

Well-Known Member
Strong passion is often a key to miracles and raging faith qualifies on that score. Hence, the prophetic tradition of provoking rage to facilitate healing miracles and Jesus' occasional healing in a state of rage. But remember this: "dog" here is a slang term for "Gentile" akiin to "Yank" or "Gringo," not the same kind of insult of calling a modern woman a "dog!"

Also, remember that Jesus' woes against 3 northern towns on the Sea of Galilee signal the majority rejection of His messianic claims. And Jesus' greatest success is in the Decapolis (10 Greek cities) region. For this reason, when the Roman legions approach Jerusalem in the 60s AD, the Jerusalem church receives a prophetic oracle to flee to Pella, a Decapolis city, where many sympathizers are located. Note the transition from Jews to Gentiles in Jesus' 2 statements in Matthew:
"I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (15:23)."
Later: "Therefore, I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you [Jews] and given to a people [Gentiles] who produce the fruits of the kingdom (21:43)."
 

paradox3

Well-Known Member
Pronouns
She/Her/Her
We will be taking a look tomorrow at the parallel passage in Matthew. The two accounts are not identical.
 
Top