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Communication is both a wonderful things and an occasion for much heartache. Jesus, the very logos (word) of God knew well how to communicate in all areas of life. There was never a time, in my view, wherein He did communicate exactly the Father’s will and in the perfect way demanded by the occasion. That does not mean, however, that His words were always understood as He intended them.

On one occasion, a woman from outside the area of Israel came appealing to Jesus for her daughter, asking Him to heal her. Jesus replied that it was proper for the children to get the food, not the little dogs (Mark 7:24-30). Those who read the New Testament might wonder if Jesus was ascribing to her some inferior status; many of the Jews did as they considered those outside Israel to be dogs (“Jews used the word for Gentiles who were considered to be ceremonially impure” p. 150, note in The Majority Text Greek New Testament Interlinear).

How easy it would have been for this woman on that particular occasion to take exception to Jesus because the implication of the words can’t be missed by any who hear them. It might be an easy response, but the woman appealing to Jesus took the words much differently. Rather than finding fault, she clearly understood the figurative significance of the words and “[s]he turned the word of seeming approach, house dogs, into a reason for optimism, thereby transforming and impending defeat into a brilliant victory” (Hendriksen, p. 299).

We can be defeated by the words of another, whether one intends to defeat us with those words or not; or we can take the words used and turn them into an opportunity to teach, bringing glory to the Lord. Taking advantage like this brings victory.