Summary: Healing, miracle
WITNESS BY YOUR DEEDS (MARK 7:31-37)
There was once a merchant who had been a very worldly, godless man. He was finally gloriously converted. On being asked what had been especially the means of his conversion, he replied, “The example of one of my clerks.” He went on to say, “This young man was one whose religion was in his life rather than in his tongue. He did not bless God and speak evil of his fellowmen.
When I uttered an oath, he never reproved me; but I could see it deeply pained him. When I fell into a fit of anger and behaved in a violent manner, though he spoke no word to that effect, I could see how painful the scene was to him.
My respect for him led me to restrain myself in his presence and gradually to break off both these habits. In fact, this man, though he never spoke a word to me on the subject of religion, exercised an influence for good over me wielded by no other human being. To him, under God, I am indebted more than to any other for the hope of eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ in which I now rejoice.” (Illustrations of Bible Truths # 908)
Jesus spent most of his ministry time in Galilee, in the area between the biblical cities of Capernaum, Korazin and Bethsaida, but He chose Capernaum, on the northwest shores of the Sea of Galilee as his home to minister to the Gentiles in Galilee in fulfillment of Scripture (Isaiah 9:1). His boyhood was spent in Zebulun but much of his ministry was in Naphtali, otherwise known as Galilee of the Gentiles (Matt 4:15). The Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary estimates that 18 of the 33 recorded miracles of Jesus were performed in the small area around the Sea. It also estimates that 25 of 33 were performed in the general Galilee area. http://www.wordofgodtoday.com/evangelical-triangle/
What ministry do we have to the aliens, foreigners and immigrants? How do we reach out to people unlike or indifferent to our culture? Why is the gospel available to Jews and Gentles, rich or poor, and the well and the unwell?
Be Caring and Candid
31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man.
Unlucky and unhappy Charlie Brown tells the wannabe psychiatrist Lucy, “And so I can't help it. I feel lonely, depressed.”
Lucy gets on his case with quick remedy: “This is ridiculous! You should be ashamed of yourself, Charlie Brown! You've got the whole world to live in! There's beauty all around you! There are things to do. Great things to be accomplished! No man treads the earth alone! We are all together- one generation taking up where the other generation has left off!”
Charlie Brown brightens up and cheers up: “You're right, Lucy! You're right! You've made me see things differently, I realize now that I am part of the world. I am not alone. I have friends!”
Lucy quickly replies, “Name one!”
Jesus had made two trips deep into Gentile territory - formerly to the Gadarenes and way further south to Decapolis (Mark 5:1-20) and presently to the Decapolis again (Mark 7:24-8:10). This is a travel more than a trip because it is a stupendous, strange and senseless account of Jesus first traveling an estimated 50 miles from Capernaum to Sidon in the northwest coast of Phoenicia, north of Palestine, back to the sea of Galilee, another 50 miles from the Sea of Galilee to far away Decapolis, east of the Jordan, with the return trip yet to come. It was definitely the furthest incursion into Gentile regions and possibly the longest road trip Jesus made – 200 miles total back and forth, stopping midway at Sea of Galilee (v 31). It was an account that made the critics of the Bible cry foul and cry impossible, challenging and invalidating the accuracy of the Bible.
Tyre and Sidon were Gentile regions, so naturally they did not roll out a welcome mat for Jesus even though the daughter of a pleading Greek-Syrophoenician local woman was healed of demon-possession. Decapolis, while a Gentile region as well, was a favorable and fruitful mission to Jesus. How did they know Jesus was in town? First, just as Jesus could not be hid previously in Tyre and Sidon (Mark 7:24). Second, he traveled as a group. Finally, two chapters ago in Decapolis, all the men marveled at the great things Jesus had done for the demon-possessed man in Gadarenes who lived among the tombs (Mark 5:20).