Matthew 15:24

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
A question arises here on that point: How is it that we have come from the Gentiles to the sheepfold of Christ if he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel? What is the meaning of this puzzling dispensation? The Lord knew why he came—certainly to have a church among all the Gentiles—and he yet said that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel? We accordingly understand that he had to manifest in due sequence to that people first the presence of his body, his birth, the display of miracles and then the power of his resurrection. It had thus been predetermined from the beginning, such and such had been foretold and fulfilled, that Christ Jesus had to come to the Jewish people and to be seen and killed and to win for himself those whom he knew beforehand. The Gentiles were not to be condemned but to be winnowed like grain. A multitude of chaff was there, the hidden dignity of grain was there, burning was to take place there, and a storehouse to be filled ...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
The Lord remains patiently silent, reserving the privilege of salvation for Israel. And the pitying disciples join in a plea. But he, holding in his hands the secret of his Father’s will, answers that he was sent to the lost sheep of Israel. It thus became absolutely clear that the daughter of the Canaanite woman represented a type of the church when the woman kept asking for what was bestowed upon the others. Not that salvation was not to be imparted also to the Gentiles, but the Lord had come to his own and among his own, awaiting the first fruits of faith from those people he took his roots from. The others subsequently had to be saved by the preaching of the apostles. And so he said, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” The Gentile people are dubbed with the name of dogs. But the Canaanite woman is saved because of her faith. Certain of the inner mystery, she responds by talking about crumbs that fall from the table, to be eaten by little dogs. Th...


AD 420
Jesus did not say this to accord with the pride of the Pharisees or the arrogance of the scribes but lest he seem to contradict the instruction he had earlier given: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans.” For he was unwilling to give his detractors an opportunity to accuse him and was reserving a fully accomplished salvation for the Gentiles at the time of his Passion and resurrection. The disciples, yet unaware of the mysteries of the Lord or having been moved to mercy, beseeched the Lord on behalf of the Canaanite woman (whom the other Evangelist calls a SyroPhoenician). Or else they wanted to be rid of this importuning woman, for she repeatedly called upon him loudly, not as though he were a kind but an austere physician. . ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
What then did the woman, after she heard this? Was she silent, and did she desist? Or did she relax her earnestness? By no means, but she was the more instant. But it is not so with us; rather, when we fail to obtain, we desist; whereas it ought to make us the more urgent. And yet, who would not have been driven to perplexity by the word which was then spoken? Why His silence were enough to drive her to despair, but His answer did so very much more. For together with herself, to see them also in utter perplexity that were pleading with her, and to hear that the thing is even impossible to be done, was enough to cast her into unspeakable perplexity. Yet nevertheless the woman was not perplexed, but on seeing her advocates prevail nothing, she made herself shameless with a goodly shamelessness. ...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
. The disciples were oppressed by the cry of the woman and so begged Christ to send her away. They did this, not out of a lack of compassion, but rather with the desire to persuade the Lord to have mercy on her. But He said, "I was sent only to the Jews, who are lost sheep because of the wickedness of those shepherds to whom they had been entrusted." In this manner He discloses more fully the faith of the woman. ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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