As the Son of David, Yeshua had come to raise up, "to establish and to uphold," the kingdom of David. He came to restore the Jewish people to the God of Israel. Yeshua Himself did not have a ministry to the Gentiles.
A Canaanite woman cried out to him, " 'Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon possessed.' But Yeshua did not answer her a word. And His disciples came to Him and kept asking Him, saying, 'Send her away, for she is shouting out after us.'
"But He answered and said, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, 'Lord, help me!'
"And He answered and said, 'It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.' " (Mt.15:22-26)
Was Yeshua intentionally tormenting her? No. He loved her as He loves everyone. What then did He want from her? She came to Him asking for mercy. She knew that He had the power to set her demon-possessed daughter free. She recognized Him as the Son of David. She was fervent and persevering. How did Yeshua respond? He said, 'Gentiles are not my ministry.' He said, 'The Jews are children of God. The Gentiles are dogs.' What kind of loving Savior is that?
He knew the woman. He knew her better than she knew Him. He was not seeking to torment the woman, but rather to enlighten her. Though she believed in Him, He wanted to make the point that who He was and what He brought belonged to Israel. To Him, that was an important point.
"But she said, 'Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master's table.' Then Yeshua answered and said to her, 'O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.' And her daughter was healed at once." (Mt.15:27-28)
She did not dispute His characterization. She accepted it. She did not exalt herself against Israel. She did not want to take anything away from the Jewish people. Surely, she believed, God had something even for those who were not Jewish. That is the faith that Yeshua honored.
The portrayal of the Gentiles in the New Covenant Scriptures is not different from that in Tanakh. It is simply not very well known. Paul sums up the natural condition of the Gentiles as being "separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." (Eph.2:12)
Paul goes on to admonish the Ephesians, "This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness." (Eph.4:17- 19)
He tells the Thessalonians, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God." (1Thes.4:3-5)
Peter reminds believers, "For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you; but they shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead." (1Pet.4:3-5)
Yeshua told the disciples how they should treat an unrepentant brother. For one who "refuses to listen even to the congregation, let him be to you as the Gentile and the tax-gatherer." (Mt.18:15#17) He said, "Don't be like the hypocrites," (e.g. Mt.6:5) and "Don't be like the Gentiles." (e.g. Mt.6:7)
There are other New Covenant Scriptures that point to some exceptions among the Gentiles. "And a certain centurion's slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. And when he heard about Yeshua, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. And when they had come to Yeshua, they earnestly entreated Him, saying, 'He is worthy for You to grant this to him; for he loves our nation, and it was he who built us our synagogue.'
"Now Yeshua started on His way with them; and when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends saying to Him, 'Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not fit for You to come under my roof; for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For indeed, I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, "Go!" and he goes; and to another, "Come!" and he comes; and to my slave, "Do this!" and he does it.'
"And when Yeshua heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that was following Him, 'I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.' And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health." (Lk.7:2-10)
This was an unusual encounter in several respects. This Roman centurion loved the Jewish people. He loved them so much that he gave the money to build a synagogue for them. The Jewish elders knew the centurion's love was genuine. It had works. Because of what he had done for them, they were willing to do something for him.
At his request, they went to Yeshua and asked Yeshua to come and heal the centurion's slave. The centurion obviously cared about his slave, or he would not have made the request.
The Jewish elders believed that Yeshua could heal the slave. They believed that Yeshua should heal the slave because of the centurion's love for Israel. They told Him that. "He is worthy for You to grant this to him; for he loves our nation, and it was he who built us our synagogue."
Yeshua did not, in any way, disagree. He followed them to grant their request, because He, too, believed that the centurion was worthy. Many years before, a God who does not change had promised Israel, "I will bless those that bless you." He meant what He said. That is why Yeshua went and healed the slave of the Roman centurion.


If you would like to send this article to a friend, please select and copy the text above, and paste into body of email message. Please replace the word "friend" with the email address of your friend . Thank you.

Send Article to Friend

(go back)

In the Beginning
The Goyim Were First
Hopeless Gentiles
The Origins of Israel's Separation
The Gentiles who joined themselves to Israel
A People Set Apart
Jews and Hebrews
You Shall Be Cut Off
The Faithful Remnant of Israel