I can’t say that I often think of crumbs in a very positive light. After all, they tend to be very minute pieces of food that end up on the floor. They are swept out with a broom or licked off the floor by a pet. When we have a need, in any area of our life, we are likely be insulted if offered crumbs to meet that need. A fraction of medicine, surgery, repair, salary, friendship, or love might as well be nothing at all.
In Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30 we read of a woman who had a desperate need the world could not meet. Her daughter was demon possessed. The woman was a Greek who was living in Syrian Phoenicia. Since she was a Gentile she was considered by Jews to be on the level of a dog. She could not go to the synagogue and ask the Jewish priest to perform an exorcism.
She had nowhere to turn. Do you relate? Maybe your need is overwhelming and you feel your situation is hopeless. Don’t give up hope! As it turned out, the woman’s answer was crumbs. Keep reading and see what happened when this mother came to Jesus.
When the woman heard that Jesus and his disciples had traveled to her region, which was approximately 40 to 50 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, she went to Jesus and pleaded for His help. She appeared to have quite a few obstacles to overcome. When she referred to Jesus as the “Son of David,” the passage says, “Yet He did not say a word to her” (Matt. 15:23). She had clearly heard of Jesus. She knew about the miracles He had performed and understood something of the prophesized Jewish Messiah. Being a Gentile, she had no right to approach Jesus on that basis. Not only that, she was a woman in a culture where women had little respect. The disciples urged Jesus to send her away because she kept crying out.
Finally the woman referred to Jesus as “Lord” (Matt. 15:25). Jesus responded with what many of us, in our pride, would have viewed as a huge insult. He said, “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to their dogs” (Matt. 15:26). Did Jesus insinuate this woman was a dog? The actual Greek word used by Jesus referred to a household pet. Literally a puppy. Notice also that Jesus never said the puppy wouldn’t be feed. He said the children would be given bread first. This fits with Jesus first being sent to the lost sheep of Israel.
The woman’s response reflects tremendous humility and life changing faith. “Yes Lord,” she said, “yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table” (Matt. 15:27). Hearing that response, Jesus complemented the woman for having “great faith” and He healed her daughter (Matt. 15:28). Jesus wasn’t trying to be difficult in His response. He was bringing the mother to display a faith that perseveres.
The world we live in offers a huge and appetizing buffet. The problem is the world’s buffet will leave us starving spiritually. I don’t know about you but, I would rather have crumbs from the master’s table than exquisite delicacies from the world’s buffet! The crumbs from the King’s table provides nourishment that is both spiritual and eternal! We are invited to come to Jesus and live. Like this mother, we must come in humility and faith. Don’t give up! Keep looking to Jesus in spite of the obstacles in your life! Rejoice to have crumbs from the King’s table!