Past Issues

Jesus -- the Messiah #16

Read Mark 7:24-8:25.

The Faith of a Syrophoenician Woman

24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

28 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

The Healing of a Deaf and Mute Man

31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man.

33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

1 During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 2 “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”

4 His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”

5 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied.

6 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9 About four thousand men were present. And having sent them away, 10 he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.” 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Herod

14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”

17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied.

20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.”

21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

The Healing of a Blind Man at Bethsaida

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.


7:24-30 – In this incident, Jesus was teaching His disciples that God’s love is intended for all people. The Jews despised Gentiles as people who were unclean and outside of God’s covenant of love. They would call them “dogs,” and they would call themselves ”children” of God. Jesus sensed that this was a Gentile woman of real faith and could teach His disciples a lesson. He referred to her as “dog” and to Jews as “children.,” and she cleverly replied: “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Jesus healed the woman’s daughter, and the disciples realized that God’s love respects and welcomes all.

7:31-37 – One striking feature is that Mark records (probably from Peter’s memory) the very word that Jesus spoke in His native tongue of that day, Aramaic: “Ephphata!” Earlier also Mark had provided us that experience of hearing the very sounds that Jesus had spoken when Jesus said in Aramaic, “Talitha koum!” (“Little girl, get up!”) Mark’s account is reliable even to details of remembering and recording Jesus’ original words.

8:1-10 – –  Jesus expresses how deep and wide God’s love is.  He looks after the daily
    needs of His children.

8:11-21 – Jesus is frustrated when His disciples – and we – fail to learn the lesson of the feeding of the 5,000 and the feeding of the 4,000. Our life is in His good hands. We can focus on our call to the jihad of righteousness, knowing that He will look after all our needs.

8:22-25 – Often the disciples – and we – are like the blind man.  We fail to understand
(v. 21) or we get things in life all confused. (v. 24)  Jesus needs to open our eyes and hearts so that we “see everything clearly” in life. (v. 25)

What is confusing and distracting in your life?  What keeps you from feeling invited into Jesus’ band of disciples for the struggle for righteousness?



Back to rest of emails