Jesus and the Syrophoenician Woman

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 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.’ So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. The Gospel According to Mark 7:24-30

This is one of the more challenging readings in the Gospel. Why was Jesus so mean to that nice woman? Was it all a rhetorical ploy? Or did he genuinely change his mind? What does it mean for our faith if Jesus could come to a fresh understanding of his mission while he was in the middle of it?

This Tuesday 31/8/21 is online Caravan. Bring your own bread and wine, or some appropriate substitute, and we'll see what we can do together on Zoom.

Image: Bazzi Rahib, Ilyas Basim Khuri. The Canaanite Woman asks for healing for her daughter<.em>, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved August 25, 2021]. Original source