CONTRASTING FAITH AND DISOBEDIENCE

“After Jesus left there, he went to the region of Tyre. When he went into a house, he did not want anyone to know, but he was not able to escape notice. 7:25 Instead, a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him and came and fell at his feet.7:26 The woman was a Greek, of Syrophoenician origin. She asked him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 7:27 He said to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and to throw it to the dogs.” 7:28 She answered, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 7:29 Then he said to her, “Because you said this, you may go. The demon has left your daughter.” 7:30 She went home and found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.”  (Mark 7:24-30)

In the text set before us we have the faith of a Greek woman, who our Lord referred to as a non Jew and a dog.  “Let the children (The children of Israel) be satisfied first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and to throw it to the dogs.”  (7:27)  But following Jesus’ statement the woman agreed with Him that She was a dog.  In responses to her Jesus said, as He did only twice in the Gospels, that she had GREAT faith.  “Then Jesus said to her, "O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed at once.”  (Matthew 15:28 corresponding)

In the text that follows (7:31-37)  Jesus healed a man that could not speak, but the response of the people to a man who healed multitudes was extraordinarily ungrateful.  “Jesus ordered them not to tell anything. But as much as he ordered them not to do this, they proclaimed it all the more.”  (7:37)

At a time when men had strong national ties and deep seated prejudices, a Greek woman totally agreed with a  Jew who called her a Gentile dog.  At the very same time, Jews who received the pronouncement that the long awaited Messiah was about to come, by a man they regarded as a great profit (John the Baptist), they did the exact opposite from what Jesus ordered them to do. 

There is nothing so precious as the grace of God given to sinners.  Paul, when writing to church at Philippi declared the state of Gentiles who were not given the law of God or any of the scriptures that brought great light to the Jews.  The Gentiles were not the more guilty for the darkness that is in them, for where there is more light there is more guilt.  However, there is great guilt for the Gentiles that deny the one true and living God. 

“So I say this, and insist in the Lord, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 4:18 They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. 4:19 Because they are callous, they have given themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 4:20 But you did not learn about Christ like this…” (Ephesians 4:17-20)

The guilt of Gentiles is true and real but in the presence of Christ and by His grace a Gentile woman in Mark 7 exercised GREAT faith and received her child back from the clutches of demon possession.  At the same time Jews who were called to receive the Messiah lived in obvious disobedience.  “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.”  (John 1:10)  The world apart from God’s grace does not see Jesus for who He is (The living God), and what He is (The savior of all those who believe).  “He came to His own, and those who were His own (The nation of Israel) did not receive Him.”  (John 1:11)  Jews are sinners just as all men, but to them were given the law, prophets, covenants, and finally the Messiah.  And to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin a vast majority have rejected Christ anyway. 

Apart from God’s saving grace all men will be forever lost.  If you have never received Christ as Lord, won’t you do so today? 

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