Year 2 Day 326
Read - Mark 7:29-30
Message - Alan Burke
This women had come in desperation to Jesus, she had thrown herself at his feet, she begged Jesus to drive the unclean spirit out of her daughter and now we are told that he does. Remember though what we have just heard, how Jesus had just told her a parable that would have been to many people scandalous and offensive, but this woman didn’t respond by saying “how dare you say that to me”, or “what an awful unloving thing to say”, or “how could you help all these other people and refuse to help me”. No this woman, she sees past it, because she understood that Jesus was not telling her to leave, rather He was making clear her helplessness and unworthiness.
The response of the woman does not make demands of Jesus, she doesn’t contest her status as a “dog”. Her answer instead to what Jesus said is, “Yes Lord”, this woman comes in submission, she had heard the words of Jesus, and she understood the spiritual reality of what he was teaching by this parable, she wasn’t offended by his words. This woman wasn’t expecting the entire meal, just wanting a few crumbs, in particular one crumb, one miracle to heal her daughter.
Then as Jesus responds to her, He tells her for such a reply the demon has left her daughter and when she went home the demon had gone. This woman understood the parabolic language of Jesus. Notice that Jesus doesn’t say that it was her faith that made the healing of her daughter, nor that her desperation is the reason why the demon had left her daughter. No, it was because of her understanding. This woman knew and understood what Jesus was teaching, what was going on.
Contrast to that of the disciples who were on the inside, who had grown up as Jews, who were following Jesus, who were hearing his teaching, who had witnessed him do many miracles, the same disciples who time and time had to ask Jesus to explain what He had said and then this woman. Fresh ears, a teachable heart, a willingness to listen and understand is what this woman had, in essence she had faith, she had come in faith, she understood in faith, she had faith in the only one who could bring salvation for her and her daughter. This is the saviour, who has come, who has the power over the very demons themselves, He has the power over salvation, He is the one who has come to make us clean as we repent and believe.
This woman had come in her helplessness, because she recognised her helplessness and came in faith. She had in a sense every reason to be offended by what Jesus said to her. There are many in the gospels who had every reason to be offered by Jesus, after all he called people hypocrite, an evil generation, a brood of vipers, a dog and many other things. Yet these are among the things Jesus called those to whom he interacted. We might want a ‘god’ who will not offend us sensitivities, that will allow us to think we are cracking people, that we are by our nature good but then that’s more to do with what you want rather than what we need. Until we realise just how desperate our situation is then we will never be willing to humble ourselves before Him, falling at His feet for His grace, we will never accept being called a sinner, who is in need of his grace. That is what we all need to do, come knowing our helplessness to save ourselves, recognising that helplessness and in faith trusting is Jesus.
Q82 Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, (Eccles. 7:20, 1 John 1:8,10, Gal. 5:17) but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed. (Gen. 6:5, Gen. 8:21, Rom. 3:9–21, James 3:2–13)