Imagine the headlines in the Jerusalem Journal from their field-reporter who was following Jesus around, “CAN HE GO ANY LOWER?” The Journal had already reported that Jesus was from Galilee, and not just from Galilee, from the hick-village of Nazareth, no less. That wasn’t much of a start for a man who claimed to be the Messiah. This same reporter had filed a report from Sychar in Samaria. If Nazareth was a pig-pen, Sychar was a hell-hole. Those people were FILTHY. Jesus had not only stopped to talk to a WOMAN, He had asked HER for a drink. YUCK! To make matters worse, He and His rag-tag band of followers had eaten and drank with them, and even stayed in someone’s home for a few days. Had He lost His mind? And now THIS…
Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice. 25 But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” 29 And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” 30 And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left. (Mark 7:24-30)
The Scribes and Pharisees had been hounding Jesus relentlessly and they had even sent a delegation from Jerusalem to Gennesaret, a village on the Sea of Galilee. They had confronted Jesus and His disciples about eating with “dirty” (unwashed) hands, in violation of THEIR traditions. Jesus had given them a major ear-full. Who would have blamed Him for wanting to get a break from that kind of malarkey? Certainly not I… Maybe Tyre would be a bit “quieter“.
Tyre was a heathen Gentile city, a sea-port, no less. It isn’t hard to imagine the sin and decadence there, but, once again, Jesus went into someone’s home. Well, unbeknownst to Him, the news grapevine had even reached Tyre, telling people of the great things He had done, so His break was short-lived.
We aren’t told whether the woman was a “local” or whether she had traveled some distance to see Jesus, or how the demon afflicted her daughter, but one thing is for certain, Jesus was her ONLY hope. 25 But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. We see an attitude of humility as she throws herself totally on His mercy.
How do WE approach God? Do WE throw ourselves totally on His mercy?
26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. She knew, that as a Gentile, all she could do is beg Jesus to heal her daughter. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. This scene reminds me of the Parable of the Unjust Judge in Luke 18:1-8. I love the closing words of that Parable; “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; 7 now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8 I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
27 And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” What kind of answer is THAT? Was He calling her a DOG? No, He was telling her that the kingdom of God was going to be offered to the Jews before it was opened up to the Gentiles.
28 But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” What a faith-filled response! WOW! She was expressing confidence that Jesus would bring His kingdom to her also, that He would heal her daughter.
And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” He told her that, because of her faith, He would grant her request and heal her daughter. This reminds me of another event in the ministry of Christ, when He healed a Centurion’s servant in Matthew 8:5-13.
Faith DOES make a difference!!!
30 And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left. Even though this sounds almost anti-climactic, that she found her child resting peacefully was HUGE. How long had her daughter been afflicted by that demon? That ordeal was finally over.
I wonder if our intrepid-reporter realized the significance of what just happened. The kingdom of God was already going to people outside the ethnic-borders of Israel. Jesus made an interesting statement in His Good Shepherd Discourse in John 10:16; “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.”
That, my friends is us. What began in Tyre has now extended all over the globe. We are those “other sheep“, and as I sit here at my computer in Florida, USA, I don’t know where this message will go, or for that matter, where any of my messages have gone, but if they are being instrumental in spreading the kingdom of God, all my efforts are worth it, because my only goals are to extend God kingdom in His world and bring Him glory.