Mark 7:14-30 (9 September 2018)

Mark 7:14-30 (Matthew 15:21-28)

  • Discrimination, racism and similar behaviour is strongly condemned, even illegal, in our society
  • Called un-Christian
  • Look at Mark 7:24-30 (or Matthew 15:21-28)
  • See Jesus’ response – how does it strike you?
  • Abrupt. Dismissive. Insulting. Discriminating. Racist.
  • Or just plain grumpy?
  • How do we understand this encounter?

 

  • Jesus took a break, some time out.
    • Left home country, went north to region of Tyre and Sidon – in modern day Lebanon.
    • Home to Syrians and Canaanites – the ones the Jews kicked out of their Promised Land.
    • Looked for solitude – he didn’t want anyone to know he was there
    • His reputation preceded him
  • He was approached by non-Jewish woman. A gentile, a woman, probably Greek. She approached this Jewish Rabbi
    • She wanted help for her demonised daughter.
    • A problem she could not solve herself.
    • Jesus at first ignored her
    • She persisted – as any mother would
    • Disciples urged Jesus to send her away
    • He responded “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”
    • She kept at him: “Lord, help me!” she said.
    • Jesus said, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.’
    • To be likened to a dog – middle-eastern insult!
    • It might have been OK for a Greek to have their little lap-dog in the house being fed good food – but Jews certainly did not.
    • ‘Lord,’ she replied, ‘even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’
  • Is he saying, “Charity begins at home”
    • Galatians 6:10 “Let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers”
    • The original meaning was “charity (love, compassion, giving) begins in the home”
    • Learn to love others in the home. That’s where you learn how to do it; then you can share it around.
    • Let’s love and support each other – but that’s just the beginning – go on to do good to all
    • It’s not possible to do good to everyone at once, to respond to all the needs put before us. It’s overwhelming.
    • Sometimes we need to set priorities.
      • These are the people I can help first
      • I can try to help these people but can’t take on something additional right now
    • We need to help people know WHY we are helping them – it’s because of the Gospel of Jesus and in his name
    • Jesus did – he had his calling set before him and could not have distractions.
  • Was Jesus testing her faith?
    • His responses to her certainly did test her
    • Did she have faith? Her persistence showed that she did
    • Did she have humility? She even accepted humiliation!
    • And if Jesus was testing her – she passed.
  • Is this a parable inaction – How to ask Jesus for what we need? If so, then…
    • Ask him for what you need – and be persistent, urgent; mean it
    • Remember that if he gives you what you need there may be an impact on others. Maybe their needs come first. He can do everything at once – but there may be an order in which things should be done.
    • Note that Jesus’ priority was not to help people but to call them to repentance and access into the Kingdom of Heaven – and that should be our priority, too.
    • What if the answer is “why should I?” Remember
    • We “deserve” nothing from Jesus
    • We have no “rights” to claim
  • Why did Jesus answer her prayer?
    • Out of compassion for the mother and child
    • In response to her passion and humility
    • This woman understood she had no basis on which to ask Jesus to give her what she asked; Jesus as good as pointed this out to her
  • Why does Jesus answer our prayer?
    • Because he can! He is the one for whom and through whom all things were made and by whom all things hold together. He is King of Kings, Lord of Lords.
    • He is the one who died on the Cross and was raised from the dead the victorious Lord.
    • He is the one who offers us forgiveness for our wrongs, our rebellion, our impurity, our sin.
    • He is the one who changes us, brings us into a family with God the Father, introducing us to the Father, speaking on our behalf to Almighty God
    • If there is to be any hope that Jesus will answer our prayers then we must
    • Be humble enough to confess we need the forgiveness he offers but which we do not deserve – even to being humiliated by the reality of our situation
    • Accept the forgiveness only he can offer us
    • Submit obediently to him as the Lord, the ruler of our life
    • Live persistently, as consistently as we can with the Spirit of Jesus in and with us
    • Pray, even without ceasing!, knowing he hears and will respond, even if it’s only with the scraps under the table!
  • It worked for the woman in Tyre!

 

Bellingen Uniting Church 2018-09-09