But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. — Mark 7:27
When I was invited to church and heard about salvation for the first time, I was thirty-one years old. The Gospel message was completely foreign to me. Although at that time I thought I was living a good life and was not a bad person, I saw something in some Christians’ lives that intrigued me and caused me to want to know more.
The first time I went forward to the altar bench to pray, in an effort to encourage me, one of the people praying with me said, “Tell Jesus you are a sinner and you are sorry for your sins.” Immediately, my reaction was one of pride. My thoughts were: Who are you to call me a sinner? What right do you have to say that? That “insult” bothered me, but thankfully, I did come to the realization that — whether I wanted to admit it or not — I was a sinner. Consequently, I was unworthy and did not deserve anything from God. It was only after I realized my unworthiness that the Lord changed my life. Pride could have stopped the whole wonderful process for me.
Today’s text contains the story of a woman who came to Jesus desiring the healing of her daughter. The focus verse is Jesus’ response to her request. The Jews often referred to Gentiles as “dogs,” and Jesus was letting the woman know that God’s plan was for the Jews to hear His message first.
The point to consider is the woman’s reply. She grasped what the Jewish people had missed, and evidenced humility and faith by her response. She did not take offense that Jesus would minister to the Jews first, and she did not allow pride to stop her from a second request.
It is possible to let pride hinder us from receiving from God. All of us need to recognize our unworthiness and come to the Lord humbly. When we do, we can believe His promises and know He will work for us, just as He did for the woman in today’s text.
Jesus and His disciples went to Phoenicia, an area in Syria northwest of Galilee along the Mediterranean Sea, about fifty miles from Capernaum. Apparently, the intent behind this journey was to go where Jesus was less known, perhaps so He could have some solitude and rest.
The woman who came to Jesus was a Greek, and Syrophoenicia was the region where she lived. She was persistent in her request to receive healing for her daughter.
Contrary to how it may sound in today’s language, Jesus’ response to this woman was not harsh. When He said “children,” He meant the Jewish people, and “dogs” referenced the Gentiles. He was explaining that His message had to go to the Jews first, and He was also testing her. She was not even slightly deterred, for she responded, “Yes, Lord: yet . . .” Her persistence and faith were rewarded; her daughter was healed. At home, she found “her daughter laid upon the bed.” She was finally relieved of what had tormented her, and was peacefully resting.
From Phoenicia, Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee via Decapolis. This was an indirect route with two potential benefits. Jesus and His disciples traveled through less densely populated areas, and they avoided the territory ruled by Herod Antipas, who was hostile to Jesus.
Decapolis was the area where the man with the legion of devils had been delivered. At that time, the people asked Jesus to leave their coasts (Mark 5:17), and Jesus instructed the man to go home and tell his friends what God had done for him. He did (Mark 5:20), and perhaps his testimony prompted the people’s response to this visit by Jesus. They brought a man who was deaf and mute to Jesus for healing.
Jesus took the man aside, and healed him with a series of steps which the man could be aware of without hearing. When Jesus looked up to Heaven, He indicated that the power for healing came from God above and not by earthly or magical power.
The people were astonished and said, “He hath done all things well.” In all these dealings with people that Mark described, Jesus understood each particular situation, He had compassion on those who were involved, and He was true to the principles of God and the purpose for which He was sent.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The authentication of the Son of God
K. His power over Satanic domination of Gentiles (7:24-30)
L. His power over physical impediments (7:31-37)
1. The setting (7:31)
2. The miracle (7:32-35)
3. The result (7:36-37)
If we come to God in faith and humility, as the Syrophenician woman did, we can expect Him to answer our prayers.