Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lent Day 19 – Mark 7:24-37

“He has done all things well.” That is the conclusion of the crowds about Jesus after a healing in Sidon. That story is connected with the prior story of Jesus healing a women’s daughter in the region of Tyre. What is important to note is that these are Gentile cities and therefore not people of Israel. That explains the weird saying in v. 27. Jews would often refer to pagans as dogs. (Jesus is probably making light of this and not actually calling her that). Because this woman has the faith to believe that just a crumb from Jesus is enough to heal her daughter, her daughter is healed without even being present. In the second story Jesus takes a deaf man away from the crowds to heal him. The stories end with a response from the pagan crowd about Jesus (who is Jewish!) – “He has done all things well.”
Both stories are connected by a secrecy motif. In the first story Jesus was hoping to go under the radar (v. 24) and Jesus not only takes the man aside in the second story, he orders the crowd not to tell anyone. Yet the crowd can’t keep their excitement to themselves. “He has done all things well!”
Look back at Genesis 12:1-3. What might this say about the reach of God’s Kingdom?
If pagans were considered dogs, how might these stories be connected to the first half of chapter 7 and the issue of uncleanness?
What does it say that Jesus heals someone who is not near-by? What might that say about intercessory prayer?
Why do you think Jesus doesn’t want people to share openly the Good News of what is happening (the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God signaled by signs of healing)? What would the affect be on Jesus’ ministry when we’ve seen Him trying to be secretive and yet He still cannot escape notice? What would be the result of being too noticed by the authorities?
Traditions can be helpful in maintaining our identity. Sometimes they can get in the way of experiencing a right relationship with God as is seen in chapter 7. How do we do this today (both individually and corporately)?
How might Jesus speak to you in a way that would help you affirm “He has done all things well!”

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