Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lenten Devotionals - Mark 7:24-37


Confusing passage, again! Mark wasn't supposed to be this confusing, but oh well.

There are two stories here. First of all, we have the Syrophonecian woman. Jesus says that the children have to be fed, because nobody should give the children's food to the dogs, but the woman replies that the dogs at least get crumbs. I'm guessing this is all analogus to the Jews and the Gentiles--in this case, the Jews being the children, the chosen ones, and the dogs being the Gentiles.

But it's weird to hear the woman to describe herself as a dog. We're studying Acts right now at church, and constantly hearing about how the Gentiles can be the chosen ones too after Christ. Maybe it's because this is before Christ (well, before his death, anyway), but it's odd to hear the Gentiles to be described as dogs who are just getting the scraps from the Jews. I mean, Jesus often says that he has come for the unusual groups (the verse that is coming to mind is the one about the sick needing the doctor, not the healthy, but Jesus is also constantly hanging out with sinners and undesirables), but here He seems to agree that the Gentiles are lower.

And the lady gets her wish; her child is healed, so there's not exactly discrimination. But Jesus does describe the Gentiles as dogs. I guess I wasn't expecting Him to be so frank about the Gentiles being lower than the Jews. And true: the Jews are the chosen people of God at this point. But the dog example is just weird. He is willing to work with the dogs, and He heals the daughter, but...still. Anyway. It seems clear that the faith of the Syrophonecian woman is what matters, and it does heal her, so that's that. Faith is the important thing. And I don't know if the Syrophonecian trusts God, exactly. She argues with Him. She fights for what she wants, and she keeps on asking Him. I don't know if she trusted that she would get through to Him, but she fights anyway. I suppose I'm in the same boat, there.

Although I'm not fighting to have a demon taken out of a child, so there's that. My wants are less important than that.

Part two is more straightforward: another healing! This time, a deaf man can hear and no longer has a speech impediment. I would guess, if he could speak but just have a speech impediment, that means he must have been able to hear at one point--he must have gotten sick and lost his hearing then. But once again, Jesus asks him not to tell, and he does the healing in private.

So are we not supposed to tell people about our blessings from God? Are we supposed to keep them secret? This goes against about 50% of Christians on Facebook if that is the case. I don't know. Maybe it was just a small instruction for the time, like a temporary thing to prevent Jesus' celebrity from overshadowing Him. I'll have to follow that train of thought through future healings, because now I'm wondering about it. Jesus seems to tell the healed to keep things quiet almost all of the town. Does the Great Commission mention anything about telling people? It talks about telling people about Christ, but healings? Miracles?

All things to think about, me thinks.

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