Mark – God is On Our Side!
Admit it, we humans are suspicious of those who are not of our religion, heritage or culture all because we do not know them. Some of us choose not to know or find out who they are for we fear and do not trust the unknown. Some of us humans even hate before we find out who they are and what they believe. We have been conditioned to fear because of the acts of terror that have been executed by a growing group of haters. It is still no excuse to be led by hate but to lead in love.
Jesus, who knows all hearts, speaks to a Gentile woman who has fallen at his feet with what seems to us a harsh rebuke, but He is actually helping her understand his mission. It occurs to me, that Jesus is trying to keep His whereabouts a secret as Mark relates, but someone let this woman inside the home where Jesus is staying. How did she know He was there? Word of mouth? Was she following Him?
She is determined for Jesus to hear her out because of her dire need to have her daughter healed from demons. Her faith in Jesus is strong. He listens to her. She responds well by calling Jesus, “Lord”. She humbly and desperately tells Jesus she will take what she can get from Him. Jesus sees her heart and heals her daughter.
THIS is an example of knowing and loving before hating. Jesus’ unconditional love and care is for everyone. His mission was to go to the Jews, God’s chosen first, but the rest of the world is welcomed into His salvation. Was this conversation for the benefit of his disciples who would learn that salvation will be for everyone?
My prayer for myself and the rest of the believing world is that Jesus will respond to our heart cries of requests with “good answer” when faced with hard times that requires His healing, restoration and help. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when our words fail us.
Mark 7, NLT
The Faith of a Gentile Woman
24 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre. He didn’t want anyone to know which house he was staying in, but he couldn’t keep it a secret. 25 Right away a woman who had heard about him came and fell at his feet. Her little girl was possessed by an evil spirit, 26 and she begged him to cast out the demon from her daughter.
Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia, 27 Jesus told her, “First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
28 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.”
29 “Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.
Mark records three miracles that Jesus performed as He ministered to the Gentiles in the region of Tyre and Sidon. This is the only recorded instance of our Lord actually leaving Palestine. He was practicing what he had just taught the disciples: there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, for all are sinners and need the Savior.
Jesus came to this area (about forty miles from Capernaum) so that He might have some privacy, but a concerned mother discovered He was there and came to Him for help. There were many obstacles in her way, yet she overcame them all by faith and got what she needed.
To begin with, her nationality was against her: she was a Gentile and Jesus was a Jew. Besides that, she was a woman, and society in that day was dominated by the men. Satan was against her, for one of his demons had taken control in her daughter’s life. The disciples were against her; they wanted Jesus to send her away and let Him (and them) have some rest. For a time, it looked as though even Jesus was against her! It was not an easy situation, and yet she triumphed because of her great faith.
The first time she cried for help, the mother addressed Jesus as “Son of David,” a Jewish title, but the next time she cried out for help, she simply said, “Lord, help me” (Matt. 15:25). It was then that Jesus spoke about feeding the children (Israel) first and not throwing their food to “the little pet puppies.” Jesus was not calling the Gentiles “dirty scavenger dogs” as did many of the proud Jews; He was giving her hope, and she took hold of it.
Her reply revealed that faith had triumphed. She did not deny the special place of the “children” (Jews) in God’s plan, nor did she want to usurp it. All she wanted were a few crumbs of blessing from the table, for, after all, “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). It must have rejoiced His heart when she took His very words and used them as a basis for her plea! She accepted her place, she believed His Word, and she persisted in her plea, and Jesus not only met her need, but commended her for her faith.
Great faith is faith that takes God at His Word and will not let go until God meets the need. Great faith can lay hold of even the slightest encouragement and turn it into a fulfilled promise. “Lord, increase our faith.”
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.