Summary: An outcast came with faith unto Jesus. Initially she did not receive the response she desired, but she remained persistent in faith. Jesus granted her request. We too must be persistent in faith as we walk with the Lord.
Crumbs from His Table
Mark 7: 24-30
As we continue our study in Mark’s gospel, we come to a passage that reveals a mother with a desperate need. As much as she would have liked to handle this situation, she was unable to bring about a resolution. While little information is given regarding the identity of the woman, we do find that she was a woman of great faith. She faced a tremendous need and was determined to get to Jesus to receive the help she desperately needed. She was content to receive the crumbs that fell from the Lord’s table.
While our circumstances may be much different today, no doubt we have all faced a great need at some point in our lives. We have been confronted by a situation that was beyond our ability to resolve. During these situations, we need to come in faith as the woman in our text. When we lack ability, and are unsure what to do, Jesus can provide for our need. He possesses great power, and cares about our need. He is more than able to provide for us. With these thoughts in mind, I want examine the challenges in the text as we consider: Crumbs from His Table.
I. The Mother’s Petition (25-26) – Following his encounter with the Pharisees and instruction of the disciples, Jesus departed into the area around Tyre and Sidon, apparently seeking some rest and solitude, V.24. Although Jesus desired to remain hidden, it didn’t take long for word to spread that He was in the area. He is quickly approached by a mother in desperate need. Consider:
A. Her Dilemma (25) – For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet. This mother had a young daughter possessed of an unclean spirit. The text doesn’t reveal how long she had been in this desperate situation, but the mother recognized the great need. Clearly she had no control over the spirit and stood in need of the Lord’s help.
Often these spirits were difficult to cast out. While Jesus had no problem with them, the disciples faced difficulty at times with unclean spirits. Following an encounter when they were unable to cast a spirit out of a young boy, they questioned Jesus about the difficulty, and He revealed the solution. Mark 9:29 – And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. We all face situations that require the Lord’s power and provision.
B. Her Devotion (26) – For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet. Somehow the desperate woman heard Jesus was in town and she came to Him, falling at His feet. This was an act of submission and worship. Although she was unable to handle the situation she faced, she believed that Jesus could meet her need. She humbled herself before the Lord in an attitude of worship.
This is an important aspect of faith that is often overlooked and neglected. Some view the Lord as their personal “genie in a bottle.” They assume that He is waiting for them to rub the bottle so He can appear and meet whatever request they have. While I am thankful for the Lord’s care and provision in our lives, I am also aware of His deity and my need to worship Him. Every prayer, and every request we make of Him, should be preceded by a time of worship and adoration!
C. Her Difficulty (26a) – The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation. We are not given the woman’s name, but she is identified by her race and nationality. She was a Greek, a Syrophenician. She was not a Jew, but of Canaanite descent. While the Jews may have tolerated her existence within the city, she would not have been welcomed or wanted among the Synagogues or within their fellowship. The Canaanites had rejected Jehovah in the Old Testament, and continued to live in rebellion and idolatry. She was not welcomed among the Jews because of her identity.
As I thought of her difficulty, I was reminded that each of us were in a similar situation. We were all born into a condemned race through Adam our father. We were born in sin, separated from God, and without hope. We lived according to the lusts of the flesh, having no desire for the Lord. Apart from Him we were hopeless and alone.
D. Her Desire (26b) – and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. Although she was a Canaanite, she came to Jesus in faith, desiring Him to cast the unclean spirit out of her daughter. She needed a miracle and believed that Jesus had the power to provide for her need. It is interesting to note that the word besought reveals a continual action – she kept on begging and begging Jesus to deliver her daughter.