24: “…He entered a house and did not want anyone to know He was there.” – Jesus had left Israel and had traveled into a region dominated by historic enemies of Jewish people, Canaanites and Phoenicians. Evidently, He did this to escape the pressing crowds.
25: “but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him and she came…” – Jesus’ reputation always attracts those in need.
26: “she begged Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.” – This Gentile woman had persisted through the barriers that the disciples has placed before her and begged Jesus to answer her prayer.
27: “He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’” – Jesus is telling her that His ministry is focused on teaching the Jewish people first. The word “dog” was commonly used by the Jews in reference to Gentiles. Jesus is challenging the woman, perhaps, even testing her, to determine the depth of her faith.
28: “But she answered Him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs’” – She passes the test. Her answer reveals her understanding of who Christ is and that everyone will benefit from His food.
29: “For saying that, you may go – the demon has left your daughter.” – Persistence in faith results in answered prayers.
32: “They brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech.” – Who brought him or who this man was is not known. Mark simply outlines that there was an important need and people recognized that turning to Jesus would provide an answer.
34: “Then looking to heaven, He sighed and said to him…, ‘Be Opened.’” – Jesus first turns to receive whatever support and guidance God has to offer. He then sighs or groans as He immerses Himself into the man’s pain. Finally, He takes action and heals.
36: “Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more He ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.” – The Good News, once you have experienced it, is difficult to suppress.
Points to Contemplate:
How deep is your faith?
Are you willing to overcome the obstacles and barriers that lay before you in order to gain access to God’s love? Can you set aside modern bias against Christianity in order to proclaim what you know to be true? Are you able to reach out for God’s healing love even when everyone around you scorns you or ridicules you for your efforts? Are you willing to risk everything, even your dignity, for your faith in God?
How are you being tested by God? Is God providing you with opportunities to prove your faithfulness? Do you experience resistance when you try to step out into ministry at God’s urging? Does this resistance cause you to buckle and lose faith? Or, are you able to remain strong and push forward through the thickening seas of opposition? Do you see these situations as opportunities to prove your faithfulness or insurmountable barriers that are simply not worth the effort and the toll? Do you recognize God’s rewards for your efforts?
How do you respond to the works that God is presenting before you? Do you see them as intrusions to your agenda? Or do you respond immediately to the needs He sends your way? Do you look to heaven for guidance before taking an action? Do you gain strength from God when you do? Do you sigh and groan? Are you empathetic and can you immerse yourself into the pain and suffering of those in need? Or do you simply write a check without a second thought? Does your faith lead you into action? Do you recognize how meaningless your faith becomes if it does not result in activism? Promises of the Gospel:
We are strengthened by our faith in Christ in order to overcome barriers and obstacles we encounter in life. Through our faith we are able to reach out to God to fulfill our needs and to lead us to others also in need. Barriers and resistance not only crumble under the persistence of our faith but are opportunities to demonstrate exactly how strong that faith is. Any time we take action, our first step must be to turn to God for guidance and strength in order that we can be assured that we are walking in His path and not in our own crooked ways. We are to immerse ourselves into the situation we face so that we can fully comprehend the depth of the need and the severity of the pain. This gives us the ability, with God’s guidance, to take the appropriate steps and respond with a heart guided and transformed by Christ. Everyone around will recognize His Spirit at work within us and will proclaim it to the world.