Jesus Didn’t Insult Non-Israelites

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma;; @BBBakampa

I have many good friends. They are really good people. My friends come from all sectors of society, because I believe diversity is beautiful. They include Muslims.

My friends and I often engage in intellectual discussions, on various issues. Quite unsurprisingly, religious affairs are among our favorite topics of discussion, because they are always interesting. Recently, I had a discussion with some of my Muslim friends on who Jesus really came for – that is, whose savior was (or is) He?

I said Jesus was sent to all people, from all corners of the world. They said Jesus was sent to only the people of Israel (the Jews), arguing and insisting that it is Mohammad who was sent to all mankind. In order to buttress their views, they referred to a scripture in the Bible where Jesus supposedly said non-Israelites are dogs. They wondered whether it can be reasonably said that somebody came to bring salvation to dogs.

The scripture in question is Matthew 15:26. This scripture is part of an encounter Jesus had with a Canaanite woman of great faith. Let me reproduce the whole passage so that the context of Jesus’ words can be fully noted. I quote from the Good News Bible, Matthew 15:21-28 (see also, Mark 7:24-30).

21. Jesus left that place and went off to the territory near the cities of Tyre and Sidon. 22. A Canaanite woman who lived in that region came to him. “Son of David!” she cried out. “Have mercy on me! My daughter has a demon and is in a terrible condition.”

23. But Jesus did not say a word to her. His disciples came to him and begged him, “Send her away! She is following us and making all this noise!”

24. Then Jesus replied, “I have been sent only to those lost sheep, the people of Israel.”

25. At this the woman came and fell at his feet. “Help me, sir!” she said.

26. Jesus answered, “It isn’t right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

27. “That’s true, sir,” she answered; “but even the dogs eat the leftovers that fall from their masters’ table.”

28. So Jesus answered her, “You are a woman of great faith! What you want will be done for you.” And at that very moment her daughter was healed.

Taken at face value, or literally, it can indeed be said that Jesus said non-Israelites are dogs, in 15:26, especially considering that He had already clearly said, in 15:24, that He was sent only to the people of Israel (this is the scripture on which Mohammed and Muslims base themselves to say that he was sent to all mankind, unlike Jesus who they insist was sent to the Jews only).

But looked at more analytically, one finds that Jesus didn’t speak derogatorily of non-Israelites, supposedly calling them dogs. Rather, in speaking the way He did to the Canaanite woman, Jesus was only testing her faith, by kind of teasing her, and stretching her patience a little; but not intentionally frustrating her, to deny her request to relieve her daughter of the demon that was terrorizing her. This, to my mind, is the only logical explanation for Jesus’ speech. And that is precisely why Jesus finally told her that, ‘You are a woman of great faith! What you want will be done for you.’ Then we are told that, ‘And at that very moment her daughter was healed.’

In Romans 4:13 the apostle Paul says that, ‘God’s promises will come by faith.’ But God tests or allows our faith to be tested for authenticity or genuineness. God tested Abraham by requiring him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, whom he loved very much (see, Genesis chapter 22). God allowed Satan to test Job’s faith, by permitting Satan to strike Job with a dreadful skin disease, death of his children, and destruction of his property (see, Job chapters 1 and 2). Even Jesus Himself was tested by Satan in the desert (see, Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; and Luke 4:1-13). The apostles of Jesus were tested by subjection to cruel punishments, including death (see, Acts 12:1-5). But at the end of the day, these great men emerged triumphant. So it was, with the Canaanite woman. Hers was a test of her pride, by being seemingly compared or equated to a dog. She swallowed her pride, submitted to God’s authority, and like the others before her, emerged victorious. The nature and kind of God’s tests keep changing because He is too original to duplicate Himself.

So, we learn that God’s tests are not insults at all. Rather, they are just that – tests; which A.S. Hornby, A.P. Cowie, and A.C. Gimson, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English (1983), at page 909, define as a trial or examination of somebody’s powers, knowledge, skill, etc. God’s tests are innocent and harmless. Certainly, they are far from being insults. Tests are God’s techniques of judging our belief and trust in Him.

When we remain steadfast in our faith in God, with and/or in spite of our powers, knowledge and skill, we give meaning to the principal commandment that, ‘Worship no god but me’ (see, Exodus 20:3; and Deuteronomy 5:7), which Jesus stated is the greatest and most important commandment, clarifying it as, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’ (see, Matthew 22:36-38). We can only prove this love for God, by successfully passing His tests of our faith in Him, however burdensome or strenuous they may be. But one thing is for sure: God cannot test us beyond our ability to handle or cope with. Therefore, Jesus didn’t insult non-Israelites in His address to the Canaanite woman.


One thought on “Jesus Didn’t Insult Non-Israelites

    by Dr. Zakir Naik

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the Old Testament:

    The Qur’an mentions in Surah Al-Araf chapter 7 verse 157:

    “Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures) in the law and the Gospel”.


    Almighty God speaks to Moses in Book of Deuteronomy chapter 18 verse 18:

    “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and I will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”

    The Christians say that this prophecy refers to Jesus (pbuh) because Jesus (pbuh) was like Moses (pbuh). Moses (pbuh) was a Jew, as well as Jesus (pbuh) was a Jew. Moses (pbuh) was a Prophet and Jesus (pbuh) was also a Prophet.

    If these two are the only criteria for this prophecy to be fulfilled, then all the Prophets of the Bible who came after
    Moses (pbuh) such as Solomon, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Malachi, John the Baptist, etc. (pbut) will
    fulfill this prophecy since all were Jews as well as prophets.

    However, it is Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who is like Moses (pbuh):


    Both had a father and a mother, while Jesus (pbuh) was born miraculously without any male intervention.

    [Mathew 1:18 and Luke 1:35 and also Al-Qur’an 3:42-47]

    Both were married and had children. Jesus (pbuh) according to the Bible did not marry nor had children.

    Both died natural deaths. Jesus (pbuh) has been raised up alive. (4:157-158)

    Muhammad (pbuh) is from among the brethren of Moses (pbuh). Arabs are brethren of Jews. Abraham (pbuh) had two sons: Ishmail and Isaac (pbut). The Arabs are the descendants of Ishmail (pbuh) and the Jews are the descendants of Isaac (pbuh).

    Words in the mouth:

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was unlettered and whatever revelations he received from Almighty God he repeated them verbatim.

    “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”

    [Deuteronomy 18:18]

    Both besides being Prophets were also kings i.e. they could inflict capital punishment. Jesus (pbuh) said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36).

    Both were accepted as Prophets by their people in their lifetime but Jesus (pbuh) was rejected by his
    people. John chapter 1 verse 11 states, “He came unto his own, but his own received him not.”

    Both brought new laws and new regulations for their people. Jesus (pbuh) according to the Bible did not bring any new laws. (Mathew 5:17-18).

    It is Mentioned in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 18:19

    “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not harken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”

    Muhammad (pbuh) is prophesised in the book of Isaiah:

    It is mentioned in the book of Isaiah chapter 29 verse 12:

    “And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.”

    When Archangel Gabrail commanded Muhammad (pbuh) by saying Iqra – “Read”, he replied, “I am not learned”.

    prophet Muhammad (pbuh) mentioned by name in the old testament:

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is mentioned by name in the Song of Solomon chapter 5 verse 16:

    “Hikko Mamittakim we kullo Muhammadim Zehdoodeh wa Zehraee Bayna Jerusalem.”

    “His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters
    of Jerusalem.”

    In the Hebrew language im is added for respect. Similarely im is added after the name of Prophet Muhammad
    (pbuh) to make it Muhammadim. In English translation they have even translated the name of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as “altogether lovely”, but in the Old Testament in Hebrew, the name of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is yet present.

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the New Testament:

    Al-Qur’an Chapter 61 Verse 6:

    “And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said, ‘O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me and giving glad tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmed.’ But when he came to them with clear signs, they said, ‘This is evident sorcery!’ ”

    All the prophecies mentioned in the Old Testament regarding Muhammad (pbuh) besides applying to the Jews also hold good for the Christians.

    John chapter 14 verse 16:
    “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.”

    Gospel of John chapter 15 verse 26:

    “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which
    proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”

    Gospel of John chapter 16 verse 7:

    “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not
    come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you”.

    “Ahmed” or “Muhammad” meaning “the one who praises” or “the praised one” is almost the translation of the
    Greek word Periclytos. In the Gospel of John 14:16, 15:26, and 16:7. The word ‘Comforter’ is used in the English translation for the Greek word Paracletos which means advocate or a kind friend rather than a comforter.
    Paracletos is the warped reading for Periclytos. Jesus (pbuh) actually prophesised Ahmed by name. Even the
    Greek word Paraclete refers to the Prophet (pbuh) who is a mercy for all creatures.

    Some Christians say that the Comforter mentioned in these prophecies refers to the Holy Sprit. They fail to realise
    that the prophecy clearly says that only if Jesus (pbuh) departs will the Comforter come. The Bible states that the
    Holy Spirit was already present on earth before and during the time of Jesus (pbuh), in the womb of Elizabeth, and again when Jesus (pbuh) was being baptised, etc. Hence this prophecy refers to none other than Prophet
    Muhammad (pbuh).

    Gospel of John chapter 16 verse 12-14:

    “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is
    come, he will guide you unto all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me”.

    The Sprit of Truth, spoken about in this prophecy referes to none other than Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

    NOTE: All quotations of the Bible are taken from the King James Version.



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