But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." - Mark 7:28
Jesus wanted to get away. He had traveled outside the borders of ancient Israel to have some well-deserved rest away from the press of the Galilean crowds. Now he was settling in for some rest with his disciples in a simple home on the rolling green hills in the Syrophoencian countryside. The house was only a day's journey from Tyre. Two days from Sidon. But far enough from both cities to afford some peace and quiet and the occasional eastward breeze from the Mare Nostrum.
But as the first day of rest was ending, the quiet peace was shattered by the wail of a woman. "Lord! Help me! Please, Lord!" The cries and wails of this unconsolable wretch shocked the disciples from their rest as if someone had dumped a bucket of cold water on the lot of them. Some were surprised that their hideout had been located. Other were annoyed that rest away from the needs of the multitudes had again eluded them.
Jesus sat up from reclining on the couch with a delightful bowl of dates. "Son of David! Have mercy on me! Please, I beg of you!" Just outside the doorway of the house, he saw her. She was on her knees in the dust. Her face was wet with tears and her eyes swollen with grief. Her dress and appearance instantly identified her as a local. "Please, Lord! Help me, I beg you! I beg you!" Her wails had drawn the disciple to the door. Some had their ears covered to soften the blow of the wails. Jesus was now standing in the doorway, beholding the crumpled figure before him. "Son of David! Hear me! Receive me!" She was Canaanite for sure, even though she was crying out in Aramaic. Jesus could tell it wasn't her native tongue. Without a word he turned from the doorway. "Lord! It's my daughter! My little baby girl!" she cried out, "She has a demon, Lord!" Jesus stood motionless but with his back to the desperate woman. "She has a demon! She is suffering, my Lord! They are destroying her! Only you can help her!" The disciples were stunned. "Lord" Andrew ventured, "What do you want us to do? Shall we send her away?" Peter's confusion overcame him. "Master," Peter asked, "Why do you not answer her?"
"Lord! Lord! I beg you! Have mercy on my daughter!" The woman's cries were deafening.
"The house of Israel," Jesus said. "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." The desperate mother cried out all the more. "Let us send her away, then" replied James. "If this is our mission, she is no daughter of Abraham." Jesus turned and his eyes met the eyes of James. He paused, as if to address James, but he stopped and turned to face the woman at the doorway.
"It is not right to take the children's bread and with it feed the dogs." With this, Jesus began to turn away again from the woman.
"Yes, Lord." replied the woman. "But even the little dogs under the table enjoy the crumbs that fall from the children."
For the first time since her arrival, a smile broke across the face of Jesus. Now the disciples were even more confused than before. "O woman," Jesus said "Great is your faith!" At this the woman caught her breath and rose to her feet. "Go home. You will find that your request has been granted!" With a shriek of joy, the woman bowed before Jesus and turned from the house and ran toward the road.
Jesus chuckled. He smiled as he looked into his men's baffled faces. "What faith, men! She gets it, doesn't she! Even the crumbs from the children! Even the crumbs..." Jesus walked back toward the couch where he had been reclining. His fingers groped for that bowl of dates he had started in on. Once more he turned toward his men who were still dumbstruck at the doorway. "Men, even the crumbs of the bread of life are enough for the little dogs! Beautiful, isn't it!" Then he sank down into the couch and with a smile took a bite of a rather large, plump date.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Gratitude is a grace from God that is transformative in the community of faith. Listen as Pastor Josh shares a special message on the power of gratitude that flows from the Gospel.
I came across the following in one of the commentaries I am using for preaching through the Gospel of Mark. Danny Akin's excursus at the end of his commentary on 2:1-12 is a helpful guide to use for any text of Scripture!
What does this text teach me about God? If the Bible is, in fact, God’s revelation of Himself in written form, then we should first be concerned not with what it teaches about us but primarily with what it teaches us about Him. In this text we can surely say that only God can forgive our sins. Jesus, the religious leaders, and even the crowds clearly understood that. We can also say that God is compassionate to those wounded by sin. Jesus did not leave the man paralyzed or in sin. He healed him both physically and spiritually. Finally, we see that God honors all who come to Him in faith.
What does this text teach me about sinful humanity? When studying Scripture, we must take into account that we are created in the glorious image of God, but that image is marred by sin. This text shows that our greatest need is not physical healing but spiritual forgiveness. It also teaches that those who are the most religious are often the most judgmental. The scribes and Pharisees exhibit this truth throughout the Gospels. We also see that sometimes, though not always, physical maladies and personal sin are related.
What does this text teach me about Jesus Christ? He is the crux of the entire Bible, so we must ask how this text relates to His person, work, and teaching. Mark reveals Jesus as God— who knows our hearts, who forgives our sins, and who heals our diseases. Ultimately He is the Son of Man who fulfills the glorious vision of Daniel 7: 13-14, who has all authority in heaven and earth.
What does God want me to know? In other words, what truths are there in this passage that I need to learn? Here we learn that we need the ministry of the Word. God’s Word spoken into our heart is what He uses to transform our lives. Also, we need to flee to Jesus and Jesus only for the forgiveness of sins. Finally, God wants us to know that Jesus can forgive sins because He is God.
What does God want me to do? How does this text change the way I live? Mark reveals here that God wants us to act on our faith, just as these men did. He also wants us to glorify Him for all He does for us in Jesus. Indeed, worship is the only appropriate response to the work of God in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.
Akin, Daniel L.. Exalting Jesus in Mark (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary) (p. 44). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Psalm 27 is a showcase for the confidence David has in his God. Reading this psalm and meditating on its message helps us to understand that God wants us to be filled with confidence. Not confidence in ourselves or in the power of positive thought, as our culture would have us believe. But confidence in a sovereign and good God who is completely devoted to His children.
Here is how the godly can experience confidence in their lives through their relationship with God:
Which of these confidences do you need this week?
This past Sunday we examined Mark's account of Jesus' baptism (Mark 1:9-11). Though a brief account, we considered how this event is significant for at least three reasons:
As we considered the first point, Jesus' identification with us, we took a moment to think about the fact that Jesus was sent from heaven to earth on a mission to save. As the great pioneering missionary David Livingstone said: "God had an only Son and He made Him a missionary". In Jesus' identification with the sinful generation of his day (and with us today!), we can find encouragement to practice the skill of identifying with those to whom we are sent. This was a skill that was not lost on the Apostle Paul – 1 Cor. 9:19-23 - who willingly made himself "a servant of all” whether Jew or Greek, weak or strong, in order to bring people to Jesus.
So how do we practice the skill of identification? How should we seek to identify with those to whom we are sent, whether neighbors, coworkers, relatives, classmates, etc? Here are a few simple ways to begin to identify:
Want to get more ideas on being missional? Download the helpful guide: "Simple Ways to Be Missional".
Reading Psalm 25, I was struck with how the concept of trusting God is on display throughout the psalm. According to the psalmist, what does faith/trust look like?
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory! Selah
Will we ever lose the wonder or cease to ask the worship question posed by this psalm of David? Will we not always stand in awe and amazement at the unfathomable glory of the Son of God crucified and Son of man risen and glorified? Who is this King of glory? Is He not like any earthly king we know of? What other king would stoop to serve, die to live, and suffer to reign?
On verse 8, Augustine writes: "Mortal nature is awe-struck in wonder, and asks, Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty. He, Whom thou didst deem weak and overwhelmed. The Lord mighty in battle. Handle the scars, and thou wilt find them made whole, and human weakness restored to immortality. The glorifying of the Lord, which was owing to earth, where it warred with death, hath been paid."
And Calvin comments: "The repetition teaches us that true believers cannot be too constant and diligent in meditation on this subject. The Son of God, clothed with our flesh, has now shown himself to be King of glory and Lord of hosts, and he is not entered into his temple only by shadows and figures, but really and in very deed, that he may dwell in the midst of us. There is, therefore, nothing to hinder us from boasting that we shall be invincible by his power."
Let us then repeat the wondrous and awestruck question - Who is this King of glory? Let us hear the answer of Scripture and the anthem of angels: "Jesus, he is this King of glory!"
"He restores my soul." Psalm 23:3a
"Return, o my soul, to your rest; for Yahweh has dealt bountifully with you!" Psalm 116:7
Jesus, my great Shepherd, Yahweh my Lord - You restore my soul. You are my Soul-Restorer.
My soul, what are you doing aching and languishing when there is a rest and a restoration awaiting you in your Redeemer's strong arms? Return! For you already know how our kind Shepherd provides for us in such a way that we have no lack! Return! How our gracious Shepherd provides for us lush green pastures on which to lay our weary body and quiet our troubled mind. You know, my soul, how He - my loving Shepherd - provides water to slake our thirst-prone self. O, how He provides more than we can drink in! Consider, o my soul, how our wise shepherd leads us for His own glory and always for our own good! We can rest, soul, in His tender care. and in resting we can experience true restoration.
What are you, my soul, waiting for?
Pastor Josh and his wife Tracey planted GraceLife with a church-planting core in April of 2017.