Verse of the Day Devotion. Mark 7:25
“But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, immediately came, and fell at His feet.” Mark 7:25.
Jesus now goes to the region of Tyre and Sidon. These were ancient cities of Phoenicia which are mentioned several times in both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus mentions Tyre and Sidon in Luke 10 in the context of judgments He was pronouncing against the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida. We read in Luke the following, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment, than for you.” Luke 10:13-14. They were considered some of the most sinful cities, however, it was said of both Bethsaida and Chorazin that it would be better for Tyre and Sidon, both cities known for their idolatrous ways, in the last days then for Bethsaida and Chorazin.
We read in Mark the following, “And from there He arose and went away to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice.” Mark 7:24. There is no indication as to why Jesus did not want others to know He was there, but I believe He was so well known they could not keep this hidden. However, see what comes up next. “But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, immediately came and fell at His feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.” Mark 7:25-26. She heard that He was there, and undoubtedly knew about the great works He had done. Therefore she went to Him with the purpose of Jesus helping her daughter be freed from the demon. Now she was a Syrophoenician. She was not a Jew but was someone from the borders near Tyre and Sidon. According to Matthew, she was a Canaanite. And when she arrived, she fell at His feet, prostrate before Him, asking for help for her daughter. Prostration was an indication of both grief and reverence. And she did not stop asking Him, for she so wanted her daughter to be delivered.
Then in the next verse, we see His response to her. “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” Mark 7:27. In the Greek the word for dog can refer to a ‘puppy’ or ‘dog’. Jews often used the word dogs to refer to Gentiles. Even though it seems out of character for him to have done so, Jesus almost certainly used it in the same way. The obvious meaning is that Jews took precedence over Gentiles during the ministry of Jesus. Even Paul later adhered to a similar principle. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16. But now notice her response, which shows the faith she had in Jesus. “But she answered and said to Him, Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” Mark 7:28. The woman did not deny the precedence of Israel over the gentiles but commented that this did not exclude the Gentiles, for the leftovers were theirs. And she referred to Jesus as Lord. This would not have been as significant if a Jew had called Him Lord, but this was a gentile who used this eminent title for Him.
Jesus was astounded by her answer to His comment. “And He said to her, because of this answer go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter. And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having departed.” Mark 7:29-30. Jesus commended the woman for her humility and, I believe, her faith. Although her faith is not explicitly mentioned, I am certain she trusted in Jesus that He could and would deliver her daughter. We need to see the power of coming in faith and humility to God as we are and letting Him make true His promises to those weak and unclean. If the woman had responded, who are you calling a dog, she would not have been humble toward Him and may not have received healing for her daughter. Her humble, faith-filled submission to Jesus brought the victory. This should be our attitude when coming to God. We must not order Him or come across as someone who deserves all we ask for. We must come to Him as someone who trusts God that He knows what is best and will bring what is best, according to His will, to fruition. God loves us. The question is do we love and trust Him enough to let Him decide what is best?
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.