by Philip Layton
Jesus explains the need to challenge tradition that obscures God’s will
- Are there traditions within the Church and society that seem good but are in danger of obstructing your relationship with God?
Share your thoughts below, or tweet about it with the #boundlessbible hashtag.
Going Deeper – from 'Words of Life'
In the Gospels, there are only two mother-daughter relationships mentioned. One concerns the notorious Salome with her mother – seeking the horrible execution of John the Baptist (Matthew 14:6-12). The other is our story today of the Syro-Phoenician woman who begs for her daughter’s restoration.
Jesus had left Capernaum, travelling north about 45 miles to the borders of Tyre and Sidon, seeking seclusion with his disciples. But word got around. This woman sought him out – falling at his feet. She asked Jesus to heal her little girl who was demon-possessed. Jesus responded by saying something quite ‘odd’ to her:
‘First let the children eat all they want,’ he told her, ‘for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs’ (v 27).
To be honest, I’m not sure how I would have reacted to this statement! But the woman responded, also with peculiar words found in verse 28:
‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’
The Jews considered Gentiles to be ‘dogs’ and, at this time, even the disciples were not convinced the gospel should be extended to anyone other than the Jews. Perhaps Jesus wanted to know the woman’s thoughts on this by using this rather witty, picturesque language. She picked it up right away, saying that even if she was thrown the ‘crumbs’ of this new faith, it was a beginning. She proved this by having faith that her daughter would be healed by Jesus.
Because of such great faith, Jesus did heal this woman’s child – the only instance in Mark’s Gospel where the Master healed someone from a distance. What faith! What love!