032614Mark 7:24–37—Two healings

24 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre. He tried to keep it secret that he was there, but he couldn’t. As usual, the news of his arrival spread fast. 25 Right away a woman came to him whose little girl was possessed by an evil spirit. She had heard about Jesus, and now she came and fell at his feet. 26 She begged him to release her child from the demon’s control. Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia, 27 Jesus told her, “First I should help my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” 28 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are given some crumbs from the children’s plates.” 29 “Good answer!” he said. “And because you have answered so well, I have healed your daughter.” 30 And when she arrived home, her little girl was lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone. 31 Jesus left Tyre and went to Sidon, then back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. 32 A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him. 33 Jesus led him to a private place away from the crowd. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting onto his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue with the spittle. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and commanded, “Be opened!” 35 Instantly the man could hear perfectly and speak plainly! 36 Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news, 37 for they were completely amazed. Again and again they said, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even heals those who are deaf and mute.”

Points of Interest:

  • ‘It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs’—This seems to be an extraordinarily offensive thing for Jesus to say. Moreover, it is inconsistent with Jesus’ previous actions. We’ve already seen him cast a demon out of a gentile before, when he freed the demoniac. Why would he so insultingly refuse now? Although it doesn’t take away the shock of Jesus’ words completely, the story of the farmer and the seeds offers some insight into the situation. Jesus says, ‘To those on the outside, everything is in stories.’ He speaks in riddles to test the soil. He finds very good soil here, and he rewards it with affirmation and with healing.
  • ‘even the dogs under the table are given some crumbs’—This woman understands the significance of the multiplication of the loaves! The disciples, who were there and who are regular companions of Jesus, don’t get it. But this woman understands that Jesus has enough for everyone—even his crumbs would be enough to solve her problem. Her faith gives her the ability not only to understand Jesus’ story, but to add to it herself.
  • ‘He put his fingers into the man’s ears . . . he touched the man’s tongue’—Jesus is using sign language. Again and again in this story, Jesus has responded to the faith of the people being healed. He gives the deaf man the chance to demonstrate faith here by signing to him what he intends.
  • “he sighed and commanded, ‘Be opened!’”—Jesus is able to miraculously open the ears of a man who is physically deaf. The disciples ears work fine, but their hearts are having a hard time hearing. How does soil that’s gone hard get good again? How do ears that have closed open up again? It can only happen like the actual healing of the deaf man happened, by the touch of Jesus.

Taking it Home:

  • For you: Sometimes Jesus’ words are hard to understand or difficult to accept. Pray that God would give you the faith to engage with him about difficult things, and that he would give you the insight to see through to his purposes. Lift up to Jesus the things about your relationship with him that are difficult to understand. Ask him to make those very places the source of great miracles in your life.
  • For your 6: Pray that the ears of your 6 will be opened and that their hearts will be able to hear Jesus’ words more and more clearly all the time.
  • For our church: Jesus does a great job of interpreting to the deaf man what is happening to him. As a church, we want to be able to explain to people in understandable ways the ways that God is working. Ask God that he would always be giving us new and better ways of communicating naturally about the supernatural.