Today Mark tells about a cultural and spiritual outsider who came to Jesus to heal her daughter. We see in this foreigner’s faith an example of someone who would not be stopped from getting Christ’s help.
The Text (Mark 7:24-30)
24 From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden. 25 For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
28 And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.”
29 Then He said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”
30 And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.
Jesus came as the Messiah or Savior of the Jews first. He was Israel’s promised Deliverer. But we see in gospel passages like this one that Jesus also opened up God’s salvation to the Gentiles (all the non-Jews, which means the rest of the world). Here he travels to the cities of Tyre and Sidon, part of a region that was called “Phoenicia” in ancient times; today much of it is in the modern country of Lebanon. He was trying to find some alone time, but He could not hide even in this remote place. This woman who come to Jesus is also called a Greek. Remember from world history that when Alexander the Great conquered the Middle East 300 years before Christ’s birth, he spread the Greek language and culture to all of its territories. So this woman is a cultural and spiritual outsider. Yet she shows strong personal faith in Jesus. Even when He tests her by saying that He came to save the Jews before reaching out to Gentiles like her, she persists and won’t be turned away. Jesus welcomes her genuine seeking of Him and heals her demon-possessed daughter.
We serve a God of justice and equality. Jesus came to offer salvation for all who would be willing to trust in Him. Today most Christians are from Gentile, not Jewish heritage. But we can make a modern application from this passage if we think about all the different backgrounds of the members of Christ’s body. Some of you may have been raised in the church with strong Christian families, while others of you may be very new to the world of Christianity. Some of you have attended Christian school since kindergarten, while many of you are much newer to the experience. What matters to God, though, is not where you come from but where you are going. Jesus rewarded this Gentile’s faith because she pursued Him with honest persistence. That is the kind of faith that God still calls us to today. Keep seeking Christ and His will for your life today.