Year 2 Day 322
Read - Mark 7:24-26
Message - Alan Burke
In school I had a history teacher called Mr Wilkinson. For me he made history come alive and part of that was to do with his collection of historical items that he would bring into class. From suits of armour, shields, helmets, to things that we were left wondering ‘what is it?’. He had this line that he would quote “Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed To Repeat It.” The quote is most likely due to writer and philosopher George Santayana, and in its original form it read, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This sentiment is hard to disagree with, just think of the twenty-first century and you will see the human race do the same things again and again. Events may not be exactly the same but as Mark Twain put it, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme” and our history, what has come before impacts us all.
As we come to todays passage in understanding it, it is important to know some context, some historical details because for a Jew reading this, knowing this is what Jesus did it would have been filled with shock and horror. Tyre itself was on the Mediterranean Sea, north of Isreal, it was historically a Canaanite city, when you know that it was a Canaanite you can guess there is going to be problems of history here, legacies of the past. Well in Ezekiel’s day (28:1), the people of Tyre rejoiced when Jerusalem was destroyed (586 BC), aright it may have been around 600 years before Jesus going there but we all know that those things take more than a week or two to sort themselves out.
Jesus went to this a region that one would have expected to be hostile to him, he goes to enemy territory, among people who were undesirable, and this woman comes and seeks Jesus out. Look at what we are told there in verse 25, for it was as soon as she heard about him she went to him. The reason why is that her little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit. If you have a King James before you or a ESV, you’ll get a better idea of what is said. The NIV only gives us a footnote to it, maybe you’ll see it there, her daughter was possessed by an ‘unclean’ spirit.
We can easily miss it, but here the issue is that this girl is unclean, once more it connects this to what comes before it, uncleanness is a universal problem, it wasn’t just a matter for the Jews, the Pharisees, the Teachers of the law, the crowd Jesus called to himself, His disciples, it was as much of a problem for the Gentile too, and it’s as much a problem for us. Here no longer is Jesus surrounded by people who think they are clean but those who know they are unclean and this woman comes to Jesus in her helplessness as her only hope.
It’s a striking emotive introduction to this woman and her problem. In it we see something of her desperation, her need, and we know that it was only Jesus who could help her. Many of us will never feel that we are in such a desperate situation, so hopeless and helpless with our lot, but with our own uncleanness, because of our sinfulness we are by our nature in a desperate situation, so hopeless and helpless, history reveals just how sinful the human heart is. What we need to do, each one is to come to Jesus, to throw ourselves down before Him for His mercy, for He is the only way of salvation.
Q78 What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbour’ s good name. (1 Sam. 17:28, Lev. 19:16, Ps. 15:3)