Let’s pray. Father, bless us so that we may be a Christ like example to our World! In Jesus name. Amen.
Jesus is on the move, going from place to place, performing miracles as in Mark 7:24-37. In the first miracle a woman comes to Jesus begging him on behalf of her daughter. In the second miracle there were some people that brought a deaf and mute man begging for Jesus to touch him. Can I ask you a question? When was the last time you begged Jesus to touch someone? When was the last time you brought someone for Jesus to touch?
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.
Jesus Heals a Deaf Man
31 Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns.* 32 A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him.
33 Jesus led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue. 34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Be opened!” 35 Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly!
36 Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news. 37 They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.”
What might we ask regarding Jesus’ miracle and this woman’s faith?
1. who was the woman that came begging to Jesus
The text calls her a Greek that was born in Syrian Phoenicia. In other words—she is not a Jew; therefore, Gentile and thought of by some as outside God’s will.
2. why does she come begging to Jesus
She falls at Jesus’ feet begging him to drive the demon from her daughter. In reply Jesus calls her a dog.
3. Why call her a dog
The Greek word Jesus uses is NOT κύων (Phil 3:2) the same word he uses in Luke 16:21. Instead Jesus uses the Greek form of κυνάριον used to describe a house dog that eats the scraps that fall from the table. No one would have a street dog κύων at the foot of the table where the children are eating but some might have a κυνάριον. I do not believe Jesus called her a dog in a derogatory or a belittling kind of way. However, I do struggle getting my arms around what Jesus is saying here.
Does someone else have an illustration or some other way we can understand Jesus’ meaning here?
I have a wood splitter at the auto mechanics. They have had it for months and I am beginning to wonder if maybe they are not going to work on it. “Why do you think that David;” well, because they are auto mechanics and not wood splitter mechanics. Could the woman be the wood splitter at the auto mechanic? I know that is rough but hey, if you have a better illustration I would be happy to use it “-)
This favoritism Jesus seems to show is hard to understand. For example in my twenties I worked as a manager for a large land development company on the Island of Kauai. During this time there was a season I was struggled with being fair and ethical in my work. You see my boss wanted me to show certain favors to my clients in hopes of these clients returning the favor down the line. Some of my clients at that time were running for governmental offices. I was asked to basically wink at some of them and not ask payment for the Kukui Grove Park and Pavilion. It bothered me to not charge the rich while charging working families; it was not fair. So what did I do? I called my granddad and asked for his advice. Granddad’s advice was that the companies act was ok because it was not based on race, color, or nationality; although not exactly fair.
Jesus’ reply to the Greek woman was not exactly fair. He favored the Jewish people and addressed her as a Greek (dog) and not a Jew. It is kind of like my relationship with my Granddad. I had certain privileges and honor that even his best friend did not have and this was because I was his grandson. Jesus was a Jew and at this time in history Jews had special position with the Father. Nevertheless, he does heal the woman’s little girl.
What Jesus was doing here had never been seen before! Jesus is tearing down the walls of separation— soon and very soon will come a day when there will be no difference between Jew and Gentile for Jesus’ death on the cross is for all people there is no difference. Jesus’ blood poured out on the cross has the power to bring forgiveness to both Jew and Gentile! You see Jesus loves them too.
Romans 5:6-8 (NLT)
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
What might we ask regarding this next miracle Jesus performs on this deaf and mute?
1. why did Jesus make himself so clear to the man
He made it perfectly clear to this man that by putting his fingers into the man’s ears he was opening them. Spiting and touching the man’s tongue he was opening the man’s tongue to speak. Looking up to heaven he was letting this man know that this was the Father’s will. With the words Ephphatha this man knew that his ears and tongue were now opened. Yes, Jesus does all things well!
Can the same be said of us? Do we do all things well? I think of a passage of Scripture in which Paul is writing to the church in Colosse and telling them
Colossians 3:17 (NLT)
17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
One of the things I have done this past week is to write down the names of seven people who I believe do not know Christ. I plan to specifically pray for each of these people and invited them to our worship service. Will you join me by begging Jesus to touch someone? Jesus answered that woman’s request. Jesus opened that man’s ears and tongue but only because there were some people who brought him to Jesus. Whom might you bring to Jesus?
Let’s pray. Father, help us fall at your feet on behalf of someone else. Show us who we can bring to you so that you may touch and heal them too. Abba Father…