Tuesday 3 December 2013

Mark 7:24-37 - Amongst Greeks

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In Mark 7:24-37 we see that Jesus is willing to help gentiles as well as Jews. The thing he requires is correct faith, not correct nationality.

Jesus and the disciples were in the region of Gennesaret, on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee. But now they head for the the Mediterranean coast near Tyre and Sidon (today in southern Lebanon). Perhaps they wanted to be away from the crowds for a while (Mark 7:24).

Try to imagine the situation. Jesus and the disciples have been walking all day; they are tired and dusty with aching feet, probably hungry and thirsty as well. They have been dealing with relentlessly pressing crowds of Galilean Jews and arguing with critical Pharisees. They have made a tiring journey to get away from all that, perhaps just for a day or two. They want to gather their thoughts and rebuild their strength through a little rest. Perhaps Jesus needs to spend some time teaching the disciples and explaining things they have not understood.

And now this Greek woman appears, almost immediately on their arrival!

She has come to plead with Jesus to cast out a demon that is harassing her little daughter. And when Jesus tells her that the Jews should have what they need before others, her persistence in faith and her humble but assertive answer was the key to his compassionate heart. Her faith is such that he doesn't need to go with her and see the child. She goes home alone and finds her daughter already free.

Jesus and the disciples head back towards Galilee and into the Decapolis ('the ten towns', another Greek region). And there they ask him to heal a deaf man who can barely speak. Jesus doesn't want to do this in public. He takes the man and his friends away from the crowd to heal him. He sighs deeply. And he tells them not to talk about this healing. They are excited and keep chattering about it, and the more he tells them to stop the more they do it.

Jesus' heart is so open and caring that he gives and gives and gives of himself way beyond what we would see as reasonable. Where there's a need, he meets it, for anyone who asks in faith and expectation.

Are we like that? Are we always patient, always kind, always bringing peace, always good, always self-controlled? [Tweet it!] Where have we heard about such things before? Read Galatians 5:22

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