Lesson 199-October 6, 2019
Lesson: “No Stumbling this Time”
Scripture: Mark 7:24-30 (primary text); Matthew 15: 21-28 (parallel text)
Lesson Goal: To see and better understand a Gentile woman that got it!
Introduction: “Jesus now withdrew from Capernaum to the region of Tyre and Sidon. The hostility of the religious leaders was so intense that Christ withdrew to a Gentile area where the religious leaders would not follow Him. Here, away from the hostility of the mob, He had an opportunity to spend time with the Twelve and to instruct them.” Pentecost
Question: Over what issue had the Jewish religious leaders clashed with Jesus prior to Jesus moving into the Gentile territory of Tyre and Sidon?
Question: From the Jewish elders’ perspective of Mark 7:1-23, what was the purpose of ceremonial washing?
We must remember that the events of today’s Scripture text came immediately following a major conflict with the religious leaders about ceremonial uncleanness. Jews normally did not have any contact with Gentiles be-cause this made them ceremonially ‘unclean’ according to Jewish traditions.” Cooper
During this time in Jesus’ life and ministry He faced the intensifying pressures from several sources. Three mounting pressures that He was dealing with included: pressures from the multitudes who were convinced He was the Messiah. In seeing His miracles they understood Him to be the Messiah but they were completely wrong as to the kind of Messiah He would be. They saw Him as a political, economic, and military Messiah that would deliver them from the clinches of the Romans. The second pressure that Jesus faced was the mis-taken notion by Herod Antipas that Jesus must be a vengeful John the Baptist raised from the dead. The third and most intense pressure came from the Jewish religious leaders. Like pressure building inside a pressure cooker so was the Jewish religious leaders in their criticisms, hostilities, and rejections of Jesus. The delega-tion hand picked by the Jewish authorities to confront Jesus had been rebuked, corrected, and embarrassed by Jesus’ stern words concerning their man made traditions of ceremonial washing. Jesus had exposed and de-clared publicly the hypocrisy of the (Mark 7:6-13) scribes and Pharisees. In the words of Alfred Edersheim, Jesus “was saying distinctly un-Jewish things” (John 6:60-66). There was no middle ground in following Je-sus and because of this many walked away. A decision to truly follow Jesus was not an easy or comfortable decision.
Please explain, “There is no middle ground with Jesus.” For a First Century follower what did it take to follow Jesus?
(v24) From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden.
What appears to just be a change of location with some geographical significance is indeed a very relevant passage with missiological truth. Also contained in this passage is the truth that the Messiah is not just a Mes-siah for one nation.
From Capernaum to Tyre and Sidon, Jesus traveled with His disciples. It was a journey of some thirty to fifty miles traveling Northwest from Capernaum. Both Tyre and Sidon were port cities along the Mediterranean Sea. These cities flourished with trade and commerce. “As best we can tell, this is the only time Jesus ven-tured beyond the borders of Israel (Akin). A point of importance is that Tyre and Sidon were inhabited by pa-gan Gentiles and throughout history they had often opposed Israel. James Edward states, “Tyre probably rep-resented the most extreme expression of paganism, both actually and symbolically, that a Jew could expect to encounter.”
Once again we see Jesus crossing boundaries to reach people with the love and redemption of His ministry and mission. Please explain how Jesus crossed boundaries in terms of geography, religion, ethnicity, culture, lan-guage, and tribes as a Savior for all people of all nations.
Question: Do we (followers of Jesus) ever view the gospel through the lens of our own preconceived bounda-ries? Please offer explanation.
Jesus had gone to this area to catch His breathe from public ministry. No doubt this was to be a time of further instruction for the disciples, as well as a change of pace and climate for a little much needed rest.
(v25) For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and feel at His feet.
Question: How does the approach of this woman to Jesus correlate to the teaching of Jesus to the Pharisees and Scribes in the previous verses of Mark 7?
Notice the posture of the woman, “she came and fell at His feet.” What can we glean from this simple act?
Question: Have you literally ever fallen on your face calling out to Jesus?
Question: Can you think of other occasions where non Jews expressed a greater faith in Jesus than the Jews?
Question: Why did the woman come to Jesus?
(v26) The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
Once again we see someone in desperation reaching out to Jesus. “This woman did not come demanding but pleading.” MacArthur
“she kept asking”—”begging,” “persistence”
Question: Please explain the following in the context of today’s Scripture text. The woman had both a des-perate need and a radical faith.
Please read Matthew’s account (Matthew 15: 22b). Notice how this woman addressed Jesus. “O Lord, Son of David.” With reference she addresses Jesus as Lord and acknowledged Him as Messiah.
Question: How does this Greek (Gentile) woman differ in her approach and respect for Jesus contrasted to the Jewish leaders of (vv1-20)?
Matthew also tells us that initially “Jesus said not a word” (15:23). However she remained consistent and per-sistent to the point that the disciples were disturbed by her. Her faith did not allow her to give up. “Great faith does not give up; it is not deterred by obstacles, setbacks, or disappointments. Sometimes the hardest response to accept is no response at all, and that is what the woman received from Jesus” (MacArthur ). The disciples misunderstood Jesus’ silence, thinking it meant unconcern for her (Matthew 15:23).
Jesus once again points to the fact of His Messiahship to the Jews but their underlying rejection (Matthew 15:24).
Again John MacArthur offers helpful insight concerning Mark 7:27 and Matthew 15:26. “Jesus did nothing unloving and nothing without a divine purpose. He had had enough of superficiality and shallowness, of the pretended faith of those who selfishly got what they wanted from Him and left. But more than that He wanted to test the woman’s faith to bring it to full flower. He put up the barriers not to keep her away but to draw her closer.”
(v27) But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” Before we read hastily into Jesus’ words, it is very helpful to notice the woman’s response. She did not take Jesus ‘words offensively, she did not make His words a stumbling block, in fact she did not find them to be a hard saying! Her faith was persistent and it was a real deal (genuine, sincere, in You I trust) kind of faith. She responded with knowledge and wisdom to Jesus’ words of (v27).
(v28) And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the chil-dren’s crumbs.” This woman did not resent or become hostile and bitter toward Jesus’ words of (v27). She did not see her door of opportunity closing but rather it was opening. In verse 28 she was using Jesus’ own words and analogy to say “I believe!” Yes, Lord!
(v29) Then He said to her. “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”
Unlike the religious leaders that missed it, she got it! Where the religious leaders stumbled she was steady and sure in her faith.
She understood Christ’s Lordship and she had no right to His mercy. She understood she did not deserve His mercy. But she in faith, (persistent) reached out to Jesus (Matthew 17:28). Hear Jesus’ words to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be as you desire.”
(v30) And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.
Jesus took her at her faith and she took Jesus at His word!
Lesson 199-October 6, 2019