Was Jesus a Bigot?

The Gospels of Matthew and Mark report that a Gentile woman came to Jesus to heal her daughter.  Jesus told her:

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

                                                                                                 Matthew 15:21-27

Analysis:  Ironically Jesus meant that the “children” were the Jews and the dog was (this woman’s) Gentile child.  This story about Jesus does not appear to be very “godlike”.  It also demonstrates that Jesus was not universalistic in his viewpoint and did not particularly care for the welfare of the Gentiles.

Compare Jesus’ “Gentiles are dogs” statement described in Matthew and Mark to the writings in the Talmud by the contemporaneous Pharisees (rabbis) whom Jesus often slandered and maligned:  “We are obliged to feed the Gentile poor in exactly the same manner that we feed the Jewish poor.”  “Do not despise any man.”  “Even a Gentile who studies the Torah is equal to a high priest.” 

Jesus did not seem to measure up to the Pharisees of the Talmud in their understanding of God’s requirement of universal kindness.         —Asher Norman, orthodox Jewish author


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