Sunday, September 09, 2012

Test of faith

"Woman of Canaan" by Harold Copping
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Mark 7:24-37

"And she answered and said to Him, 'Yes Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children's crumbs.' Then He said to her, 'For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter'" Mark 7:28,29

Jesus had made a little trip into non-Jewish territory—the only time He did that, according to my Bible's footnotes. Perhaps He needed a break from the crowds that pressed close day and night when he was in Galilee or Judea. But if He expected to escape into anonymity, He was disappointed.

The Syro-Phoeneician mother was despairing and desperate. Jesus' response seems calculated to add to that despair when He chides her—a Gentile—in a seemingly prejudiced way, for asking for a miracle.

But she has nothing to lose.

She turns His insult inside out. I may be a Gentile dog, but even dogs get table scraps (my paraphrase of  Mark 7:28).

My Bible's footnotes again: "Actually assuming the appearance of traditional Jewish prejudice, Jesus was drawing from her a confession of triumphant faith" - Notes on Mark, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1363.

And then Jesus pronounces her daughter healed!

This story makes me ask, am I too easily discouraged in my prayers? When the answer is "No," do I give up, or persevere?

Maybe it was just for this woman that Jesus made the trip into Tyre and Sidon. Maybe faith, tested in just that way will be precisely what she will need in the days and years ahead, as other circumstances challenge her and her daughter.

Dear Jesus, thank You for these Mark 7 stories of Your power over dark spirits, and disability. Help me to have faith for crumbs, no, whole loaves of Your power in my life. Amen.

MORE: "He Saw It All" - the Booth Brothers

The story in our reading goes on to tell how Jesus returned to Galilee where He opened the ears and loosed the tongue of a man who had been deaf and mute. The onlookers "...were astonished beyond measure..." Mark 7:37.

"He saw It All" sung by the Booth Brothers is a fabulous expression of that awe and an invitation to trust for our own miracles.

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