Day Nineteen: Monday, March 5

Mark 7:24-37

From there  Jesus arose, and went away into the borders of Tyre and Sidon. He entered into a house, and didn’t want anyone to know it, but he couldn’t escape notice. For a woman, whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, having heard of him, came and fell down at his feet.

Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race. She begged him that he would cast the demon out of her daughter.

But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not appropriate to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

But she answered him, “Yes, Lord. Yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

He said to her, “For this saying, go your way. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”

She went away to her house, and found the child having been laid on the bed, with the demon gone out.

Again he departed from the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and came to the sea of Galilee, through the middle of the region of Decapolis. They brought to him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. They begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside from the multitude, privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue.

Looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!”

Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was released, and he spoke clearly. He commanded them that they should tell no one, but the more he commanded them, so much the more widely they proclaimed it. They were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes even the deaf hear, and the mute speak!”

The story of Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman demonstrates the strength of faith the woman had as the first response from Jesus seems to rebuff her efforts. “The woman… did not hesitate before the apparent obstacle before her. She felt no insult in the comparison between children of the household and the pet dogs. Instead she neatly turned it to her advantage: the crumbs dropped by the children, after all, are intended for the dogs! Jesus’ comparison is not rejected but carried one step further, which modifies the entire scene: if the dogs eat the crumbs under the table, they are fed at the same time as the children (and do not have to wait, as implied by the affirmation in verse 27).

Indeed, let the children be fed, but allow the dogs to enjoy the crumbs. There does not have to be an interruption of the meal, for what she requests is not the whole loaf but a single crumb. The acceptance of the comparison, the clever reply, and the profound respect for Jesus in her address show that her confidence in his power and good will has not been shaken.”
(William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark, p. 263)

Day Twenty: Tuesday, March 6
Day Eighteen: Sunday, March 4