We will split the lectionary gospel reading into two pieces for our reading this week. Two healing stories from Mark to bring us hope.
Mark 7:24–30 (NRSV)
24 From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25 but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” 30 So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
It is a stretch to say that no two of Jesus’ healings are alike – but not by much. Jesus has been clear that his ministry is to the Jewish people. He has come to fulfill the promises to Israel. You get that very clear in his interaction with the woman even to the point of comparing her to a dog. That offends me as well it I bet it does you. But she won’t give up or give in or be easily offended when it comes to her daughter. Mothers seem to be that way – am I right? Jesus ends up delivering the daughter because of the woman’s faith as evidenced in her humility, her words, and her persistence. I pray that this woman’s faith speaks to us today about our need to do just the same.
Jesus the great Physician, I pray for your power to be at work today. Heal us body, mind and spirit. Release us from the grip of the evil one. Restore to us the joy of your salvation.