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Mark Study: Mark 7:24-30 August 8, 2010

Posted by Warren in The Gospel of Mark.
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And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
(Mark 7:24-30 ESV)

Jesus’ ministry at this point was directed primarily to the Jews. This is why He didn’t want people to know where He was (verse 24). He was in a Gentile house, and did not want the Jews to know He was there, because it would have immediately prejudiced them against Him. He also was in the last place that the Pharisees would have looked for Him.

But He could not be hidden. His renown had spread to the Gentiles, and soon a woman in need came to seek His help. Jesus’ reply seems to be a bit out of character to us — He won’t help her? John Gill believes that Christ said this to “test her faith” (from his notes on Matthew 15:26). But when we remember that His primary mission was to the Jewish people, His meaning is clear. She understood who the “dogs” were — Jews often referred to Gentiles as dogs. But her faith is shown in her perseverance.

She is blessed for her persistence. Sometimes, we are too easily stalled in our Christian walk. One bad thing happens, and we are ready to throw in the towel. We need to follow the example of this woman, who had no real reason to think that Christ would bother to help her, but through faith came to Him anyway. She knew that she did not deserve anything from Him, but she still came, out of a sense of her own need. She knew better than those who He had come to minister to.

It is interesting to hear the words of Christ — “Let the children be fed first.” First, not only. Christ showed there was hope for the Gentiles. Gill says ” as a priest, or as a Saviour and Redeemer, He was sent to make satisfaction and atonement for the sins of all God’s elect, and to obtain eternal redemption and salvation for all of them, whether Jews or Gentiles;as a prophet, in the discharge of His own personal ministry, he was sent by His Father only to the Jews.” But He was willing to show that there was hope for all who would believe in His name.

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