24 He got up and departed from there to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it, but he could not escape notice. 25 Instead, immediately after hearing about him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she was asking him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, because it isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she replied to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he told her, “Because of this reply, you may go. The demon has left your daughter.” 30 When she went back to her home, she found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone. — Mark 7:24-30
by Anita Simpson
Lockeland Springs Campus
In this passage, Jesus is approached by a woman who is insisting that He help her daughter. The woman is a Gentile, and therefore is not considered worthy to approach Jesus at all, much less in this type of aggressive manner. Jesus’ response is a curious one, much like the parables He was known to share.
I imagine Jesus responding to the woman with a twinkle in His eye and a challenge in His tone. We have to remember that Jesus already knows the heart of the woman who has approached Him. He already knows what she believes about Him. He already knows her daughter and the state she is in. Jesus also knows that His “challenge” to this woman will be used in scripture to teach us about Him.
Jesus is saying to the woman, “Don’t you know there is an order to things? Don’t you know I have a plan?” In a way, He is saying, “Would you think it right to change that plan?” The woman’s response shows that she gets it. She knows He has an order and plan. She may or may not understand it, but she trusts Him. She also shows great faith in saying, “Yes, I accept that plan of Yours, but I know I’m a part of it too. I don’t know in what order, but I know I am a part of it.” Jesus is glad to see her faith in His actions and in her acknowledgement that even as Gentiles, she and her daughter are loved and accepted by Him.
This account in the Bible reveals a lot about the nature of the salvation Jesus offers. Instead of being dependent on our religious standing or merit, it is completely dependent on His grace. The woman is not saying, “Give me what I want because I deserve it.” She is saying, “Give me what I don’t deserve based on Your goodness.”
- Read the passage again. Have you ever been compelled to approach Jesus the way this woman did? If so, how did He respond?
- You can be encouraged by this passage in knowing that Jesus will pay attention to your petition and that the desire of His heart is to reconcile you to Himself.
- When you approach the Lord, remember His grace, His love for you, and His goodness.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.