Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXVI: Serving God With An Eye For Encouraging All Who Are Open To The Truth
(Mark 7:24-30)
  1. Introduction
    1. God has called the believer to go out into the world and disciple all nations, Mtt. 28:19-20.
    2. Yet, some people seem less deserving than others and the temptation is to minister to the more deserving.
    3. Jesus exampled for us the extent of grace God demands in those who minister as His representatives on earth in the Great Commission, a grace that encourages all who are open, even the most undeserving!
  2. Serving God With An Eye For Encouraging All Who Are Open To The Truth, Mark 7:24-30.
    1. When a woman came to Jesus for help with a possessed daughter, she did so on very undeserving grounds:
      1. The circumstances of Jesus' geographical location meant that He was seriously trying to escape ministry for a much-needed, frequently-interrupted rest. This was the worst time to seek His help:
        1. This woman approached Jesus with her request when he had left Israel for the only time in His earthly ministry, cf. Mk. 7:24 and Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 135.
        2. This move was intended to relieve Jesus and His disciples from ministry as they had already long missed their initially intended vacation: (a) Way back in Mark 6:31, Jesus had urged the disciples to come apart into a deserted region f or rest. (b) However, that was interrupted with the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus' delivering the disciples from sinking in a fierce storm on the Sea of Galilee and a theological run in with the Pharisees on traditions, Mark 6:32-44,45-56; 7:1-23. (c) When Jesus came into this Gentile area of what is now Lebanon, He obviously made it clear that He was trying to avoid public exposure, Mark 7:24. (d) Accordingly, this move out of Palestine was Jesus' way of making a clean break for rest that He and His very fatigued disciples desperately needed! (Ibid.)
      2. The woman who besought Jesus' help came from a race of people whom God had ordered destroyed: she was not supposed to be alive according to the divine intent, let alone expect Messiah's help!
        1. The woman was a Syrophenician, a group Matthew's Gospel calls Canaanite, Mk. 7:26a; Mtt. 15:22.
        2. These Canaanites were to have been destroyed in divine judgment for horrendous pagan idolatry when Israel first conquered the land of Palestine, cf. Deut. 7:1-2. They were to be shown no mercy.
        3. For her of all people to approach the Jewish Messiah who was offering Israel the Messianic Kingdom for conquering the wickedness of Gentiles around Israel was the height of inappropriateness!
    2. Being a God of grace, Jesus mentioned the woman's undeserving station to elicit true faith, Mk. 7:26-27.
      1. When she approached Jesus, He did not immediately rescue her daughter, Mk. 7:26-27a.
      2. Instead, He reminded her that she, like a household canine pet was asking for food that was supposed to be given only to His Jewish disciples, the children of God, Mk. 7:27b.
      3. Jesus was not really refusing her, but challenging her faith so that she would come completely on the grounds of God's mercy and grace to find help as she was so undeserving!
    3. The woman responded that she accepted the analogy that she was like an undeserving household canine pet beneath the table where the children ate; however, as canine pets immediately at the crumbs that fell from the childrens table, she was seeking Christ's help solely on grace, Mark 7:28.
    4. So accepting of this trust was Jesus that He announced the deliverance of the woman's daughter without ever giving a command to that effect, Mark 7:29, Ibid., p. 136. In fact, this is the only miracle performed by Jesus recorded in Ma rk's gospel that came without a command from Him. He responded immediately as the grounds of the request was pure grace from a humble, trusting heart!
Lesson: Though the Canaanite mother didn't deserve to be alive even with the initial plan of God way back in Israel's taking of Palestine, and even though she interrupted His retreat for a desperately needed break from ministry, her seeking Christ' s help with the total absence of pride and the complete presence of faith elicited the most immediate deliverance in Christ's ministry. Accordingly, (1) when ministering, we must always encourage needy people if they humbly seek God's favor no matter how u ndeserving they may be from a human perspective. (2) If we seek God's mercy, and do so on grace with the absence of pride, we are guaranteed His deliverance due to His infinite GRACE!