Summary: Is the way Jesus treated the Greek woman a sign of racism? Let’s find out...
In the beginning of Chapter 7 Jesus had a discussion with the Religious leaders of the day about what made a person clean or holy to worship God and what made them dirty or unholy, unfit to worship God. The Pharisees liked to look on the outside of a person’s life & judge them by what they see or do not see. We have people today who do the same. Everybody today has a personal opinion about how to worship God and how a Christian should look. Some churches choose to make these personal opinions rules and laws & enforce them on the people. These churches end up just becoming little clubs where no one is invited or allowed in. Sooner or later they die out. But new ones spring up & continue on.
Jesus taught that we should not look on the outside of a person but on the inside. Some of us can be pretty ugly on the outside. I asked my wife one day why did she marry me. Was it because I was the most handsome gringo in San Salvador? She laughed & said no. She did not marry me for my belly but for my heart. If she hadn’t come to know the Mikey Thomas on the inside she never would have married me. We in the church today should not judge the people we meet by what we see outside. Like a piece of coal, black & dirty on the outside; there could be a shiny diamond inside. We need to treat people not as pieces of coal but as precious jewelry.
Jesus leaves behind the crowds & Pharisees & goes someplace else. This is where we pick up our scripture for today. Mark 7:24-30
Mark 7:24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.
Mark 7:25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet.
Mark 7:26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
Mark 7:27 "First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs."
Mark 7:28 "Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs."
Mark 7:29 Then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter."
Mark 7:30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Here is another miracle of Jesus. He takes a trip to the Meditranion Sea which is where Tyre is located. Tyre is a city located outside the nation of Isreal. He is in Gentile land. Jesus has become so famous that he cannot go anywhere without people knowing about it.
Here is the setting. Jesus and the disciples are trying to enjoy a nice quiet supper. In comes this Greek woman, begging Jesus to heal her daughter. In the book of Matthew where this event is recorded also, the disciples urge Jesus to get rid of her because she was bothering thier dinner.
Has this ever happened to you? You sit down for a nice meal and the phone rings. You answer & it turns out to be some salesman trying to sell you something. It seems like lately they’ve been calling every hour on the hour. If you allow it, they can ruin your dinner time with your family.
That is what was happening with the disciples. This gentile woman was being a real pest.In the Matthew account Jesus tells the woman that He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. The woman comes & kneels before Jesus & begs him to help her daughter. Look at what Jesus said to her in verse 27: "First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs." Was Jesus making a racial slur? Was he actually saying that only a privleged few can actually be a part of the kingdom of God? Was his teaching earlier that day about not judging people on the outside just a bunch of malarky? Something else that we humans are good at is jumping to conclusions before we have all the facts.
Actually what Jesus was doing was testing the woman’s faith. Did she actually believe that Jesus could heal her daughter? Did she know for sure that Jesus was the only answer to her problem? Did she have the heart to preserver? How often do we come to God with a problem? How often do we pray the same prayer day in day out, waiting for God to move. God heal my father please. Heal my husband. Save my family Lord. We pray & pray. And sometimes it seems there is just a great big wall that is between us & God. Is God hearing us? Does he care?