Friday, April 12, 2013

Jesus Goes Out of His Way

After Jesus left there, he went to the region of Tyre. (Mark 7:24a)
Then Jesus went out again from the region of Tyre and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee in the region of the Decapolis. (Mark 7:31)

Between these two verses is recorded only one event: the healing of the daughter of a Gentile woman. Jesus made a deliberate trip away from the Jewish settlements into a region of mostly Gentiles so that he could encounter a Gentile woman in need. In this simple story we see the Gospel played out.

In the New Testament times, there was a huge gulf between the Jews and the Gentiles. The Jews would have as little to do with the Gentiles as possible as they were seen as evil and unclean. Jesus left his fruitful ministry in Galilee to take a trip into a region he had never been to before to visit a single woman: an unnamed Gentile of Greek origin who lived in Tyre. He bridged the gulf between Jew and Gentile to save her daughter. In the same way, Jesus, through His death on the cross, bridged the impassable gulf between sinful man and God and drew near to us to save us.

And yet, after making this trip, Jesus does something very strange. He ignores her pleas. In Matthew 15:21-28, a parallel passage, we see that He ignored her pleas until she came up to Him, and in both accounts, he responds to her plea for help with an insult.

He said to her, "Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." (Mark 7:27)

He was testing her faith. With great humility, she responded "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." She recognized her position before God and her absolute need for His help. Because of her faith and humility, her request was granted.

And here we see the full play of the Gospel. God draws near to us, bridging the gap that we could not cross, but then He expects us to pursue Him with persistence, diligence, and humility. And then God does something amazing that only He could do in response to our simple faith. It is a beautiful picture that captures the heart of prayer and the grace and love of God toward us. He wants to bless us, and He comes near to us. But this is a relationship; He wants us to ask Him and to pursue Him.

Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb 11:6)

No comments:

Post a Comment