Summary: In an unusual encounter Jesus has, we see some concrete steps to seeing God work in our lives.

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Mark 7:24-30


What does it take to get what you ask for?

As kids, we perfect ways of asking… doing chores, etc.

In A Christmas Story, Ralphie goes to elaborate ends to get the response he wants: a Red Ryder BB gun.

What about God? Does receiving what you ask for from God require the same level of strategy?

A quick review of the media provides some possibilities:

A newspaper ad with a prayer that promises if you repeat it 3 times a day, and republish it, it has never failed.

A cable tv show that assures you you will get what you ask for for a certain sized donation.

What about real life? What keeps us from receiving what we ask for? Is having your prayers answered a formula, or a mystery?


Today, in an unusual encounter Jesus has, we will see some concrete steps to seeing God work in our lives.

A. A woman with a desperate need comes to Jesus

He has just had an encounter with Pharisees over tradition.

He enters Gentile land (only time) - A concrete example of his disregard for their views of defilement.

Jesus and 12 had left Genneserat in search of rest, privacy.

He’s been looking for this – Cf. 6:30-34; 53-56.

They are worn out from the demands of people, ministry.

A lot has happened since he sent the 12 out: feeding the 5000, walking on water, conflict with the leaders.

He doesn’t want anyone to know he is there.

He has a desperate need for rest and privacy.

But he was unable to keep his presence secret. They had heard of him before – Cf. 3:8.

He is faced with another interruption! As I read 25-26, notice who comes to Jesus.

An unnamed woman seeks him out.

Her non-Jewish background is stressed – a Gentile, born and raised.

She has a desperate need – her daughter is demon-possessed. For a description, look at 9:17,18; 20-22, 26.

A reminder that Satan hates our kids…

She brings her need to Jesus

She boldly begs Jesus to heal her daughter. Her need led to her boldness and persistence.

Falling at his feet – deep respect and profound distress.

B. Maybe you have a desperate need to bring to Jesus

Maybe you can relate to this woman. Maybe you have a desperate need in your life:

For financial help

For relationship help

For parenting help

For medical help

For spiritual help

Maybe you’re desperate. Maybe you don’t know what to do. Maybe you are at the end of your rope.

Bring your need to Jesus. Be bold!

Your small group can help

Illus: Our group is praying for our current need.

James says, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” – James 4:2

Reasons we don’t bring our needs to Jesus::

• Afraid to ask for the wrong thing. He can sort it out

• Self-reliant – don’t really want or expect help

• Feel unworthy

• No faith – He can’t or won’t


When we are faced with needs, even big needs, we can bring them to Jesus. We should bring them to Jesus

Transition: This isn’t overly surprising. We’ve seen this before. We expect to hear this kind of thing at church. In fact, we know what to expect from the story: Jesus has compassion on her and answers her request, meets her need, right?

Let’s see as we read vv. 27.

A. Jesus refuses her request to test her faith response

Wait a minute. What did Jesus say? That’s a strange answer, an unexpected answer.

Matthew is even clearer. Cf. Matt. 15:23-26

Whatever it means, its clear he refuses her. He says no!

He says the children get the food, not the dogs. The children get first dibs, not the dogs. No. I wont’ do it.

Implication: Lady, you’re not a child, you’re a dog!

That’s not the response she (or we) expected!

What’s going on here?

The big picture, the first thing a lot of people camp on is:

A reference to the OT designation of Israel as the children of God, partakers of God’s plan; the time for the Gentiles not yet come. In fact, for the most part we see Jesus’ ministry restricted to Israel. Cf. Rom. 1:16; Acts 13:46.

But would this woman get all that? No, I don’t think so!

Rather Jesus paints a picture for her that she can relate to.

The Greek word used here for ‘dogs’ here refers to small, household pets: Fluffy and Fido, not big stray dogs or outside dogs.

Its a picture of family life: the family is gathered around the table, the pets off to the side, waiting. Its inappropriate to interrupt the meal and let the dogs, the pets, have the food. The pets get the food after the meal…

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