“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” –Luke 23:43
Right away a woman who had heard about him came and fell at his feet. Her little girl was possessed by an evil spirit, and she begged him to cast out the demon from her daughter.
Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia, Jesus told her, “First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.”
“Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.” (Mark 7:25–29 NLT)
As people, we love to organize things into categories. It helps us to make sense of the world around us. One of the ways we do this is by organizing the people we interact with into in-crowds and out-crowds. We don’t always do this out of judgment or because we view one group as better than the other; yet this method of choosing whom we pay attention to, associate with, and care for inevitably leads to judging some people as better than others.
In the context of first century Judaism, the Syrophoenician woman was not part of the in-crowd. She was a Gentile attempting to seek the favor of Jesus, a Jewish rabbi. Thankfully for her and her daughter—not to mention the rest of us—Jesus is for the world, not simply His own family. When He first arrived on the scene, John the baptizer described Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). From the very beginning, the new life stemming from the cross and resurrection was to be for all of creation, not just the Jews. Said another way, the children of Abraham far outnumber Abraham’s biological descendants. Today—right now, even—invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate for you those you have previously disregarded. In cooperation with the Spirit, work toward realigning your vision of them with the way God sees them.