2020-01-26 – Mark 7.24-37 – Extraordinary Miracles
Bible Text: Mark 7:24-37 | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | 2020-01-26 – Mark 7.24-37 – Extraordinary Miracles
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
Can you believe we are already near the end of January. I gotta ask, how are those New Years Resolutions coming along? Are things going the way you had hoped and planned? If your like me, many times we put together plans to accomplish a task or achieve a goal, but then once you get started, nothing goes exactly the way that you had supposed it should have gone? Ever hear the phrase “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. That is what we are going to see today in scripture. Things don’t go the way we think they might, but that sets the stage for some Extraordinary Miracles which is the title of our message.
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 7.24, pew Bibles pg. 894 in God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word, but let us first start with Prayer.
Jesus is in the midst of His ministry, and He has been going about healing many, many people, and He was also teaching thousands of followers. The crowds around Him were somewhat like groupies, not really true disciples but just people excited to see what Jesus was going to do next. [MAP] The scene opens up today with Jesus traveling now from the town of Gennesaret near the Sea of Galilee to an area which is now known as the country of Lebanon. Up to this point Jesus was primarily endeavoring to present Himself as the Savior/Messiah that the Jews were waiting for. Now He chooses to get away from the crowds and give some experiential training to the Disciples. Starting at Verse 24 Mark writes:
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.
It is believed that Jesus perhaps desired a time-out from the crowds, to rest and recharge and spend some quality time with His disciples. But the word got out.. It is amazing how fast the word gets out when you don’t want the world to get out.
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.”
We don’t know much about this lady, other than she was a Gentile. She didn’t have any credentials, but she approaches Jesus with bold humility. The term used here suggests she was begging and she keeps on begging; not for herself but for her daughter. She obviously heard about all the miracles that Jesus had performed, so she decided to go against the cultural norms and take a risk for her daughter.
The reply here by Jesus is very direct and it is not what we normally think He would have said. It is harsh to read these words, because it doesn’t seem to fit the narrative we have about Jesus’s character in our minds. Keep in mind, they had just walked 30 miles and they were probably very tired and hungry. Jesus was rightfully concerned for his disciple’s welfare. Understanding also, we are reading a translation from the original languages, but still Jesus’s response seems a little harsh doesn’t it.
This reminds me of another situation when Jesus performed His first miracle of changing water into wine. Jesus was approached at the wedding feast by His mother Mary. Recall what it says in John 2, that when the wine ran out, Jesus’s mother told him, “They don’t have any wine.” To which Jesus said, “What does that have to do with you and me woman?” “My hour has not yet come.” Again, this seems very harsh, but we got to keep in mind that what was considered normal for that arena. I saw the same dynamics in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Jesus was a man in what was known largely as a “Man’s world”. What was not normal though was that a women would confront a man so boldly in public. Again, this is God’s holy world and we should dig deep into it to understand the dynamics and the character of Jesus.
In our text here I would suggest that the lady knew who she was, she knew her standing in their cultural class system, she didn’t argue with Jesus over what and how He said what He said, however notice she didn’t back down either as what would have probably been expected. She was so driven by even the possibility that Jesus the healer and miracle worker might help her in this situation, as she only wanted to save her daughter and nothing else really mattered. She was a hero in my eyes. At what length would you be willing to go for your child’s life?
Let us see now her reply. Verse 28 says,
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.
I am telling you, this lady was humble but very bold and brave. Although Jesus does in fact perform an extraordinary miracle in this situation, I would argue what is even more extra-ordinary here is this lady and her actions. Instead of loosing her composure, she responds smartly and still in such a humble way. She put it all on the line, and appealed to both the intellect and the heart of Jesus.
When is the last time you had a situation where you felt you needed to humbly appeal to the heart of Christ? Jesus listens to the appeals of His flock. This story reminds me of the parable about the Unrighteous Judge in Luke 18. Jesus said,
“There was a judge in a certain city, who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” Then Jesus said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly!”
Both these ladies demonstrated that they didn’t give up. They had abundant tenacity and they had abundant faith! We should endeavor to be more like them. This mother in our story today left for home believing that her daughter was saved. And as we see she was right to presume that her daughter was in fact freed from the demon by Jesus. We should have such faith, Amen?
Now we will shift gears a little and move to another great example of an Extraordinary Miracle. Verse 31 reads:
31 Again, leaving the region of Tyre, he went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis. 32 They brought to him a deaf man who had difficulty speaking and begged Jesus to lay his hand on him. 33 So he took him away from the crowd in private.
After putting his fingers in the man’s ears and spitting, he touched his tongue. 34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed deeply and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”). 35 Immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly.
36 He ordered them to tell no one, but the more he ordered them, the more they proclaimed it. 37 They were extremely astonished and said, “He has done everything well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Again, just like the first Extraordinary Miracle, we see here some very strange happenings. How would you have liked to witness this miracle. What a bizarre way to heal somebody. I wonder if Jesus did it in this way for the purposes of the method or for the purposes of just blowing the Disciples minds. Lol.
(I think we should give it a try, come on up here Jeremy, Pretend to be a deaf mute). I am betting the Disciples were just scratching their heads.
Isaiah 35 says about the Messiah, “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy”. And that is exactly what Jesus did over and over again.
In Matthew’s version of this event, it says “Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel”.
Again, these were not Jews, they were Gentile pagans. They were people of the Decapolis, meaning the ten regions that were under the influence and control of Rome. They were so amazed at what Jesus was doing they now were praising the God of Israel as a result.
The Disciples were probably aghast as they watched Jesus touch all the unclean or dirty Gentiles. I believe Jesus healed this man by touching him in such a strange way to overemphasize that the Gentiles were part of His ministry too.
And He was also giving the disciples an example for their ministry going forward.
Again, let us look at what transpired here. This man was deaf, he couldn’t hear, Jesus put his fingers in his ears to let him to know that this was going to be a miracle that would restore his hearing.
Jesus touched His tongue I believe to give the deaf man a gesture that He was going to give him the power to speak again, then Jesus looked up to heaven to indicate to the deaf man that the power from this isn’t coming from a demon or a magic trick, this was a miracle that comes from God. Lastly Jesus sighed, showing the deaf man that Jesus cared and felt his physical challenges. Jesus clearly demonstrated to the deaf man His compassion, and immediately the man was healed. He didn’t have to go to a speech pathologist or an Audiologist for therapy, he was immediately and completely healed. And the first voice he heard was Jesus. Praise the Lord.
Funny thing, verse 36 says “He ordered them to tell no one, but the more he ordered them, the more they proclaimed it”. It is funny to me because the man could now hear and he could now speak, and Jesus ask him not to tell anyone.
I can hardly blame the man for not shouting from the mountain tops.. “I can hear, I can speak, I am healed” This man and the others there were completely amazed, and they couldn’t even contain themselves. They instead proclaimed that Jesus has done everything well. And He continued to do all things well for the rest of His life.
So what are the takeaways from this message here today? I will suggest that we can have confidence that God can do what ever He wants to do in any way He wants to it. He is God. He is the Creator, the Great Physician, the Great Healer and He is our Savior and Lord. Praise His Holy Name.
The second hopeful takeaway is that Jesus loved on these people. Didn’t matter from where they came from or what their backgrounds were. Jesus loved them. And Jesus loves you too. There is no situation so dire where He cannot show His amazing love and mercy and grace. Jesus is a God who does Extraordinary Miracles. Not necessarily the way we think He should, but Extra-ordinary many times indeed. And the biggest miracle of all is that He even saved me.
How amazing is our God.
Would you please stand and pray with me now.