Our reading plans will come from the YouVersion Bible app. If you do not have the app, click HERE . But, if you already have the app, and want to follow the reading plan, click HERE . For those who don't have the app or are unable to do so, I will post the devotions and Scripture here within the post so you are able to follow along with us! “Rightless Assertiveness”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
In other words, she says, "Yes, Lord, but the puppies eat from that table too, and I’m here for mine." Jesus has told her a parable in which he has given her a combination of challenge and offer, and she gets it. She responds to the challenge: “Okay, I understand. I am not from Israel, I do not worship the God that the Israelites worship. Therefore, I don’t have a place at the table. I accept that.”
Isn’t this amazing? She doesn’t take offense; she doesn’t stand on her rights. She says, “All right. I may not have a place at the table—but there’s more than enough on that table for everyone in the world, and I need mine now.” She is wrestling with Jesus in the most respectful way and she will not take no for an answer. I love what this woman is doing.
In Western cultures we don’t have anything like this kind of assertiveness. We only have assertion of our rights. We do not know how to contend unless we’re standing up for our rights, standing on our dignity and our goodness and saying, “This is what I’m owed.” But this woman is not doing that at all. This is rightless assertiveness, something we know little about. She’s not saying, “Lord, give me what I deserve on the basis of my goodness.” She’s saying, “Give me what I don’t deserve on the basis of your goodness—and I need it now.” Do you see how remarkable it is that she recognizes and accepts both the challenge and the offer hidden within it?
A good translation of Jesus’s rabbinical reply to her would be “Such an answer!” Some of the translations have Jesus saying “Wonderful answer, incredible answer.” And so her plea is answered and her daughter is healed.
How will the faith of the Gentile woman affect the way you approach God? Mark 7:14-37 (ESV) - What Defiles a Person 14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him." 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." The Syrophoenician Woman's Faith 24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." 28 But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." 29 And he said to her, "For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter." 30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone. Jesus Heals a Deaf Man 31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."
Our reading plans will come from the YouVersion Bible app. If you do not have the app, click HERE . But, if you already have the app, and want to follow the reading plan, click HERE . For those who don't have the app or are unable to do so, I will post the devotions and Scripture here within the post so you are able to follow along with us! “More Than You Expected”
Sometimes when I go to Jesus, he lets things happen that I don’t understand. He doesn’t do things according to my plan, or in a way that makes sense to me. But if Jesus is God, then he’s got to be great enough to have some reasons to let you go through things you can’t understand. His power is unbounded, but so are his wisdom and his love. Nature is indifferent to you, but Jesus is filled with untamable love for you. If the disciples had really known that Jesus loved them, if they had really understood that he is both powerful and loving, they would not have been scared. Their premise, that if Jesus loved them he wouldn’t let bad things happen to them, was wrong. He can love somebody and still let bad things happen to them, because he is God—because he knows better than they do.
If you have a God great enough and powerful enough to be mad at because he doesn’t stop your suffering, you also have a God who’s great enough and powerful enough to have reasons that you can’t understand. You can’t have it both ways. My teacher Elisabeth Elliot put it beautifully in two brief sentences: “God is God, and since he is God, he is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere else but in his will, and that will is necessarily infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to." If you’re at the mercy of the storm, its power is unmanageable and it doesn’t love you. The only place you’re safe is in the will of God. But because he’s God and you’re not, the will of God is necessarily, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond your largest notions of what he is up to. Is he safe? “Of course he’s not safe. Who said anything about being safe? But he’s good. He’s the King.”
How can we have peace in Christ during circumstances that are prone to create anxiety and/or despair? Where in your life are you waiting for Jesus to provide help? Mark 4:35-41 (ESV) - 35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
Our reading plans will come from the YouVersion Bible app. If you do not have the app, click HERE . But, if you already have the app, and want to follow the reading plan, click HERE . For those who don't have the app or are unable to do so, I will post the devotions and Scripture here within the post so you are able to follow along with us! “Deeper Healing”
Jesus knows something the man doesn’t know— that he has a much bigger problem than his physical condition. Jesus is saying to him, “I understand your problems. I have seen your suffering. I’m going to get to that. But please realize that the main problem in a person’s life is never his suffering; it’s his sin.”
If you find Jesus’s response offensive, please at least consider this: If someone says to you, “The main problem in your life is not what’s happened to you, not what people have done to you; your main problem is the way you’ve responded to that”—ironically, that’s empowering. Why? Because you can’t do very much about what’s happened to you or about what other people are doing—but you can do something about yourself. When the Bible talks about sin it is not just referring to the bad things we do. It’s not just lying or lust or whatever the case may be—it is ignoring God in the world he has made; it’s rebelling against him by living without reference to him. It’s saying, “I will decide exactly how I live my life.” And Jesus says that is our main problem.
Jesus is confronting the paralytic with his main problem by driving him deeper. Jesus is saying, “By coming to me and asking for only your body to be healed, you’re not going deep enough. You have underestimated the depths of your longings, the longings of your heart.” Everyone who is paralyzed naturally wants with every fiber of his being to walk. But surely this man would have been resting all of his hopes in the possibility of walking again. In his heart he’s almost surely saying, “If only I could walk again, then I would be set for life. I’d never be unhappy, I would never complain. If only I could walk, then everything would be right.” And Jesus is saying, “My son, you’re mistaken.” That may sound harsh, but it’s profoundly true. Jesus says, “When I heal your body, if that’s all I do, you’ll feel you’ll never be unhappy again. But wait two months, four months—the euphoria won’t last. The roots of the discontent of the human heart go deep.”
Why was forgiveness the paralytic’s deepest need? Why is it our deepest need? What other “needs” do we feel are deeper than our need for forgiveness? Mark 2:1-17 (ESV) - 1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 "Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your bed and walk'? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" —he said to the paralytic— 11 "I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home." 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!" Jesus Calls Levi 13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him. 15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.