Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Was Jesus a Racist?


Miguel De La Torre of Illif School of Theology, in an article written for Associated Baptist Press offers some interesting exegesis on Matthew 15:21-28.

He writes:

In the fullness of Jesus' divinity, he had to learn how to be fully human. His family and culture were responsible for teaching him how to walk, how to talk, and how to be potty-trained.

He also learned about the superiority of Judaism and the inferiority of non-Jews, in the very same way that today there are those within the dominant culture who are taught America is No. 1.

For some, this superiority takes on a racial component where European descent makes one more advanced than does Hispanic ancestry. The minority who insist on voicing their superiority can easily be dismissed as racist and thus ignored...

Nevertheless, for Christians, the imago Dei finds its fullest expression in the personhood of Jesus as he turned many "rules" upside down. This is a truth that even Jesus, in his full humanity, had to learn.

To deny this woman a healing and call her a dog reveals the racism his culture taught him. But Jesus, unlike so many within the dominant social structure of today, was willing to hear the words of this woman of color, and learn from her.

And thanks to her, Jesus' ministry was radically changed. The Canaanite woman responded by saying, "For even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters."

Her remark shocked Jesus into realizing that faith was not contingent on a person's ethnicity. In fact, Jesus had to admit that this was a woman of great faith.

Read the entire article HERE.

2 comments:

Ryan H. said...

Hmm.

Karen said...

Comments after this article were very interesting. One poster said that the word "dog" is translated "young pup". Is that correct? Thank you, Karen