Summary: In our text today, Jesus visited 2 predominantly Gentile regions, Tyre and Sidon (vs. 24-30) and the Decapolis (vs. 31-37). There He ministered to a desperate mother and a disabled man.
The Gospel of Mark #19 – “Faith in Unexpected Places”
1. We humans are a strange breed, aren’t we?
2. ILL – A pastor was once looking through some old church records of a Norwegian congregation which listed its membership as: “52 souls & 2 Swedes.”
3. Why do we feel as if we have to discriminate between others based on where the others were born, or where they live, or what color their skin is, or if they are rich or poor, a Southerner or a Yankee, blue collar or white collar, English speaking or Spanish speaking, Republican or Democrat, Vikings fan or Packers fan…? (OK, maybe not the last one!!)
4. God does not show favoritism & neither should we!
5. Acts 10:34 “Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.’”
6. James 2:8-9 “8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.”
7. Everyone we see, everyone we look at, everyone we meet, whether they are dressed in rags, or in the most expensive designer clothes, are eternal souls in need of God’s love, mercy, kindness & salvation.
8. Of the many traits Jesus possessed, the one most people remember & admire would be His compassion. He genuinely cared. Life was never too busy for Him to help someone in need.
9. Mark 7:24-37 (read)
10. In our text, Jesus visited 2 predominantly Gentile regions, Tyre & Sidon (vs. 24-30) & the Decapolis (vs. 31-37). In fact, it is the only time recorded in the gospels that He left the borders of Israel. There He ministered to a desperate woman & a disabled man.
11. The Jewish Law separated the Jews from the Gentiles, not because the Jews were better, but because the Jews were different in their covenant relationship with God. A wall in the temple prevented Gentiles from entering the Jewish temple courts under penalty of death.
12. God wanted the Jews to witness to the Gentiles of the true and living God; but His people failed in their task.
13. Jesus would break down the wall of separation and remove the “spiritual distance,” thus making believing Gentiles & believing Jews one in Christ (Eph. 2:11-22).
I. The Faith of a Desperate Mom – Vs. 24-30
Imagine the scene. This mother has a demon possessed daughter & so she begs Jesus for deliverance. Initially He remains silent, but ultimately He grants her request & commends her faith.
A. The obstacles to her faith were great – vs. 24-27
She had to overcome many obstacles in order to secure her daughter’s healing. Yet, she persisted until she achieved her goal.
1. The obstacle of race – vs. 26 tells us that this woman was from Tyre & Sidon. Matt. 15:22 tells us that she was a Canaanite. She was descended from a cursed people.
a. When Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan, they had been commanded to totally destroy the Canaanites, Deut. 7:2. She was a member of a hated race.
b. When the disciples see & hear this Gentile calling out to their Messiah, they react by telling Jesus to send her away! They wanted nothing to do with her. She was not one of their people! In their eyes, she was different and that was enough to justify them not caring about her at all.
2. The obstacle of religion – She came to Jesus and called out to Him and said, “Lord, Son of David, Have mercy on me.” Here she was a Gentile mother crying out to the Jewish Messiah. She had no right to come to Jesus through the door of Judaism. She was a Gentile and according to Matt 15:23, Jesus gave her the response she deserved, “He answered her not a word.”
3. The obstacle of rejection – As Jesus speaks to this woman, His words appear harsh to our ears. His words must have shaken her to the very core of her being. His words probably broke her heart.
a. First, Jesus simply ignores her. It is as if He turns an indifferent ear to her cries for help.
b. Then, He tells her that His whole purpose in coming to this world was to reach the lost sheep of Israel. When she persists, Jesus tells her that she is a dog & does not deserve the children’s bread. The disciples rejected her and now it appears that Jesus is rejecting her too.
4. What obstacles are you facing today? Persist in seeking the Lord & in His time, you will see every barrier fall!
5. John 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”