Friday, January 5, 2018

2018.01.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 7:24-8:10

Questions for Littles: Into what region did Jesus go in v24? What couldn’t He do? Why not—who found Him (v25)? What ethnicity was the woman (v26)? What did Jesus imply about her in v27? Did she deny it in v28? How did she respond? What does Jesus say is a result of her response in v29? What did the woman find when she went home (30)? To what region does Jesus then go in v31? Interestingly, in this Gentile region, what does He say in Aramaic in v34? In addition to regaining his hearing, what other miracle does the man in v35 experience? What does He command them in v36 (something He usually commands in Jewish territory)? What do people say about Him in v37 (that demonstrates that though Gentiles, they had Messianic expectations)? What size multitude had Jesus gathered now, even in this Gentile territory (8:1)? What did Jesus have on the multitude in v2? How long had they stayed with Him, even without food? Why would some of them have passed out on the way home, if He sent them away to eat (v3)? Why didn’t the disciples think they had any other options (v4)? How many loaves did they have (v5)? What did Jesus command the multitude to do in v6? What two things does Jesus do with the loaves before giving them to the disciples? What else did they have (v7)? How much did these people who hadn’t eaten for three days eat (v8)? How many, of what size baskets of leftovers, did they take up? How many had eaten? To what (Jewish) region did Jesus now go (v10)?
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus goes into Gentile territory and shows that He is making for Himself children from among the Gentiles too.

First, we find Him in Tyre and Sidon, coastal trade-port cities with terrible reputations for wickedness. In fact, these cities often find themselves targets of condemnation in the Minor Prophets, and even appear in Jesus’ pronouncements against the Jewish cities on Galilee.

There, a woman somehow finds out that He is there and comes to ask Him to save her daughter from the control of a demon. The woman is a Gentile, and Jesus basically says, “Don’t you know that I’m a Jewish Messiah who came to a Jewish nation?” In fact, His word picture for her and her daughter is “dogs” as opposed to “children.”

However, this woman’s love for her daughter and faith in Christ foster a humility that doesn’t take offense at this but rather insists that Christ has more than enough grace for all. Jesus recognizes this and tells her that her daughter has been healed.

Jesus moves on to the Decapolis—a region populated by Gentiles and Samaritans, but we find in v37 especially that there are many here expecting the Christ. He was prophesied to make the deaf to hear and the mute to speak, and here Jesus does both in one case. Those who are expecting Messiah say, “He has done all things well.”

And He has, dear Christian. He has fulfilled every prophecy and completed every task of the Messiah. He is a victorious and complete Savior. You may cling to Him with absolute confidence!

The final episode may be the strongest statement that Christ is a Messiah for the Gentiles every bit as much as the Jews. The Jews had recognized whom He was claiming to be, when He fed a multitude in the wilderness.

Now, there is a multitude who is willing to stay with Him without food for three days (their willingness a small miracle in itself), but this one is Gentile. What does He do? Reproduce the wilderness feeding, still with seven large baskets left over. Jesus is a more-than-abundant Savior for the whole world!!
Have you ever wondered if Jesus is a Savior for you? What’s it look like for you to cling to Him anyway?
Suggested songs: ARP45A “My Heart Is Greatly Stirred” or HB132 “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!”

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