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Was Jesus Prejudiced?

The story of the Syrophoenician woman is one that pops up from time to time, as in this article in the recent Christian press: Learning from Jesus' Xenophobic Moment by Shea Watts; and there is always an attempt on the part of the writer or blogger to make excuses for Jesus' supposed xenophobia - his apparent prejudice and disdain for this woman who has asked him for healing for her daughter. After all, in this Biblical story, Jesus is supposed to have called the woman a "dog."

What I find fascinating is that even with such supposed bad behavior on the part of Jesus, that we are always ready to believe the best of him ... as it should be!

But, let's step back and regroup; in our blog below, we'll talk about what REALLY happened during this event in Jesus' life...and you'll find it much more consistent with the Jesus of love.

First, here's how our author turns Jesus into the hero here - and he IS the hero, always and forever. I really like this author's determination to find the good here and to give good advice for all of us to think about as well.

"Notice that Jesus makes a statement about the woman, but once he listens to her, he learns about her and his experience with her changes his mind. It is so easy to "other" those that are different than us - whether that be Syrian refugees, or those coming to America from Mexico - but how much time do we spend talking to them? How much time do we spend seeking to understand where they are coming from and the loss or grief or sadness that they have experienced? Have we heard their stories? Are we even open to listening?

"Jesus' xenophobic comments highlight his humanity. He was, after all, a man. He sweated and bled and cried. He spent his time and effort walking around to spread his message and recruit for his mission. And, from time to time, he got grumpy and sought to escape the crowds that followed. In this story, he let the pressures of his everyday life lead him to a moment that he learned from: he is initially wrong, but corrects his mistake.

"If Jesus can learn from his own xenophobia, it is time that we learn from his, first, and then hopefully learn from our own. Perhaps that is the point, after all?"

Click to read the entire article

If it seems too outrageous, it probably isn't true, anyway.

Urantia Book readers are quite familiar with this touching story; and every time I see a story like this in the popular press - when I think of all the people who wonder whether Jesus was really a closet hater, it makes me want to once again tell the real truth, as found in Part IV of The Urantia Book.

And in the case of the Syrian woman, the Biblical accounts are NOT TRUE. The repulsion and dismay we feel when we think that Jesus was so rude to a suffering woman is telling us that it just can't be true - and it isn't. The woman WAS called a dog, but not by Jesus; the one who was so rude to her was Simon Zelotes - the 11th apostle, and an "ardent Jewish nationalist!" This background makes Simon's response to the woman much more understandable ... not what we would hope from an apostle of Jesus, but nevertheless...

HERE'S the whole story, as revealed in The Urantia Book

THE SYRIAN WOMAN

There lived near the home of Karuska, where the Master lodged, a Syrian woman who had heard much of Jesus as a great healer and teacher, and on this Sabbath afternoon she came over, bringing her little daughter. The child, about twelve years old, was afflicted with a grievous nervous disorder characterized by convulsions and other distressing manifestations.
Jesus had charged his associates to tell no one of his presence at the home of Karuska, explaining that he desired to have a rest. While they had obeyed their Master's instructions, the servant of Karuska had gone over to the house of this Syrian woman, Norana, to inform her that Jesus lodged at the home of her mistress and had urged this anxious mother to bring her afflicted daughter for healing. This mother, of course, believed that her child was possessed by a demon, an unclean spirit.
When Norana arrived with her daughter, the Alpheus twins explained through an interpreter that the Master was resting and could not be disturbed; whereupon Norana replied that she and the child would remain right there until the Master had finished his rest. Peter also endeavored to reason with her and to persuade her to go home. He explained that Jesus was weary with much teaching and healing, and that he had come to Phoenicia for a period of quiet and rest. But it was futile; Norana would not leave. To Peter's entreaties she replied only: "I will not depart until I have seen your Master. I know he can cast the demon out of my child, and I will not go until the healer has looked upon my daughter."
Then Thomas sought to send the woman away but met only with failure. To him she said: "I have faith that your Master can cast out this demon which torments my child. I have heard of his mighty works in Galilee, and I believe in him. What has happened to you, his disciples, that you would send away those who come seeking your Master's help?" And when she had thus spoken, Thomas withdrew.
Then came forward Simon Zelotes to remonstrate with Norana. Said Simon: "Woman, you are a Greek -speaking gentile. It is not right that you should expect the Master to take the bread intended for the children of the favored household and cast it to the dogs." But Norana refused to take offense at Simon's thrust. She replied only: "Yes, teacher, I understand your words. I am only a dog in the eyes of the Jews, but as concerns your Master, I am a believing dog. I am determined that he shall see my daughter, for I am persuaded that, if he shall but look upon her, he will heal her. And even you, my good man, would not dare to deprive the dogs of the privilege of obtaining the crumbs which chance to fall from the children's table."
At just this time the little girl was seized with a violent convulsion before them all, and the mother cried out: "There, you can see that my child is possessed by an evil spirit. If our need does not impress you, it would appeal to your Master, who I have been told loves all men and dares even to heal the gentiles when they believe. You are not worthy to be his disciples. I will not go until my child has been cured."
Jesus, who had heard all of this conversation through an open window, now came outside, much to their surprise, and said: "O woman, great is your faith, so great that I cannot withhold that which you desire; go your way in peace. Your daughter already has been made whole." And the little girl was well from that hour. As Norana and the child took leave, Jesus entreated them to tell no one of this occurrence; and while his associates did comply with this request, the mother and the child ceased not to proclaim the fact of the little girl's healing throughout all the countryside and even in Sidon, so much so that Jesus found it advisable to change his lodgings within a few days.
The next day, as Jesus taught his apostles, commenting on the cure of the daughter of the Syrian woman, he said: "And so it has been all the way along; you see for yourselves how the gentiles are able to exercise saving faith in the teachings of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. Verily, verily, I tell you that the Father's kingdom shall be taken by the gentiles if the children of Abraham are not minded to show faith enough to enter therein."

This wonderful story which corrects and details the erroneous account from the Bible is found in Paper 156, which you can read in its entirety by clicking on the link.

There's more in there...

Would you be interested in what else Jesus and the apostles were up to during that trip? Jesus did some teaching in Sidon about spiritual progression, and he delivered a significant teaching in Tyre, which will thrill and inspire anyone who is looking for spiritual truth and practical ways to maintain a good spiritual life.

The Urantia Book is a book about Jesus - Part IV of the book is the complete life and teachings of Jesus, restated for our 21st century times - it is a revelation of the true life that Jesus lived here and is probably the most important religious knowledge that any of us could have. And it belongs to YOU, too! Read and enjoy...

 

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