vs 24-25 Why did Jesus want to keep his location secret? Why did the woman come to Jesus?
Wherever Jesus went, the crowds came to see his miracles. So it was difficult for him to give important instruction to his followers. This training was needed since Christ knew that soon the church would be in their hands not only the hands of the 12 Disciples, but also the many others who would join with the disciples to form the early church. Many of the early church members had seen and encountered Christ during his ministry. Many were with the disciples in the upper room at the day of Pentecost. And many more joined the growing church in the weeks and months afterward. As we shall see later in this book, the author of this gospel may have been with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemene.
How different Christs approach is to ministers of today. So much of what we do is designed to bring in the crowds. Sometimes we need to spend time being trained to be servants. A reporter wrote of one of R. A. Torreysrevivals in the Royal Albert Hall in the 1800s, "No show on earth could have filled it once a day for many consecutive days. The preacher was no remarkable orator. He had no gift of wit and humor, and would not have exercised it if he had. The newspapers constantly called attention to the fact that he was no orator, but the crowds came and came and came; rainy days, and fine days they crowded in or stood outside, oftentimes in a downpour of rain, in the vain hope of getting in. What drew them? The uplifted Christ preached and sung in the power of the Holy Spirit, given in answer to the daily prayers of forty thousand people scattered throughout the earth."
Of all people to hear of Jesus location, a Greek woman came because her daughter was seriously ill. Perhaps she had heard of Christs healing. She came in faith but soon found her faith tested.
vs 26-27 How would the woman feel hearing this statement? How would you feel? Why do you think Jesus said it? What did Jesus statement mean?
How would you respond to this statement by Jesus? It seems harsh, doesnt it? At this time in Christs ministry he was ministering to the Jews. He knew that soon the church would explode on the scene to minister to the whole world. But first the Messiah must come to the Hebrew nation. Only after he is rejected by his own, will a new covenant be made with all nations. As Barnesremarks, "He came first to [the Jews]. He came as their expected Messiah. He came to preach the gospel himself to the Jews only. Afterwards it was preached to the Gentiles; but the ministry of Jesus was confined almost entirely to the Jews."
But I think Jesus is making a point of the womans faith. When we come to Jesus, he wants us to come in faith a faith that is firm and unwavering. As James wrote in James 1:6-7, "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord." This woman came in faith.
vs 28 What does this reply on her part indicate? What emotions did she have to overcome to make this statement? Why does God sometimes test us?
The woman came looking for something good and she was rebuked. She could have become angry or disillusioned. But she was neither. The woman responded in a very humble manner. When we come to Christ in prayer, let us also be humble. Let us not be demanding or presumptuous. But let us realize that we are not worthy of any good gift from God.
God may sometimes test your faith. How do you respond? Do you get discouraged and frustrated, or even angry? We may ask why God tests us, but the plain fact is we never learn how to have faith in God until we are tested. We never really understand how God has his hand upon us even in trying circumstances until we have gone through a trying circumstance and seen God work in our life. We can talk about faith, and read about faith. We can mentally affirm that we have faith. But until we are tested, we dont understand what real faith is. God wants us to stay true to our faith even in the face of adversity. Thats what this woman did.
vs 29-30 What main thing did her reply reveal that caused Jesus to work this miracle? How should we go about asking God for things? What causes some to lose their faith?
The womans reply was one of faith mixed with humility. There is a dangerous movement among some Christians that believe that we can force Gods actions by our words. It teaches that words have power and when we speak words of faith, God has no choice but to act on them. Although this idea is based on Biblical truth, it misses the importance of humility. God wants to bless us and encourages us to pray for healing and blessings. But we can never demand anything from God. God is sovereign. Sometimes his answer is no. But as the woman discovered, sometimes his answer is yes.
vs 31-32 Who brought the man to Jesus? Who should you be bringing to Jesus?
Again, we see an example of friends bringing a disabled person to Christ. Perhaps this mans healing would never have taken place if his friends would not have brought him. This may not have been easy. The man may not have understood what was going on and may have resisted his friends efforts. Perhaps they were unsure how they would be received, and they might even have been embarrassed because of their friends disability. But they let none of this prevent them from bringing their friend. There are many friends and neighbors who need to be brought to Christ. What is your excuse for not bringing them?
vs 33-35 What did the touching by Jesus indicate? When we pray for others, should we place our hands on them? What person do you know who needs healing that you should be praying for?
Jesus often touched people when he prayed for them. As Barnespoints out, "Blessings were commonly imparted by laying on of the hands." The disciples apparently continued this practice. We know that James wrote in James 5:14, "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord." Since Jesus was both God and man, by touching those he healed he was displaying both his deity and his humanity. He touched them as a person who shared their sufferings and cared about them. And he also touched them as God reaching down from heaven in mercy to heal them. When we pray for others, we cant touch them as deity, but we certainly can touch them with our humanity. Sometimes a touch tells others that we are concerned for their problems and that we sympathize with their struggles. Of course, we dont have to touch someone to pray for them. But it can be very comforting to those going through a trying time to know that someone cares enough to reach out and touch them.
vs 36-37 Why was it so hard for people to keep silent about Jesus? Why is it so easy for us to keep silent about Jesus?
People could not contain their excitement. Everywhere Jesus went, lives were changed and people were healed. The people were filled with amazement and wonder. Perhaps Christians today can remain silent about Christ because we have lost that amazement and wonder. Serving God should produce an excitement that will make us want to share with others. Let us allow God to show us all the good things hes done for us. Allow your spirit to become excited. And share Christ with others.
This study on Mark7:24-37 © 1999 by David Humpal, all rights reserved.
Torrey from The Great Attraction
Barnes Notes on the New Testament pg. 73, Kregel Publications
Barnes Notes on the New Testament pg. 161, Kregel Publications
Medley: quoted in Believers Bible Commentary, New Testament volume, pg. 155 © 1990, Thomas Nelson Publishers