#DailyDevotion A Gentile Woman Teaches Jews How To Pray
Mark 7: 24 From there [Jesus] arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
Demon possession is real. While in some instances in the ancient world they may attributed many cases of mental illness with demon possession, it seemed never the less that people understood there was a difference between possession and when someone was ‘mad’ or crazy. Clearly in our text today the woman’s daughter was possessed as Jesus says as much. She had an unclean spirit. She had another problem. She wasn’t Jewish. And he she was coming to a Jew for help.
She had two things going for her. One she had faith Jesus could heal her daughter and two she was clever. She heard of Jesus. Faith comes by hearing. Now she doesn’t come demanding things from Jesus. No, she comes humbly bowing down before Jesus and begged him. Peter reminds us not to be anxious but to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.
But Jesus puts her off at first. Jesus even calls her a dog. That is how the Jews viewed Gentiles. He came for Israel first. When he sent the disciples out he told them to go only to the lost sheep of Israel. And this is where the woman is clever. She takes Jesus at his word. You want to call me a dog? I’ll take that. Even dogs get the scrapes that fall from their master’s table. All I want is a scrap that has fallen from the table. On hearing this, Jesus knows he is caught. He is amazed at this woman’s faith in him. He gives her what she asks for.
Now we too should follow this woman’s example. First we should be persistent in prayer. Secondly, we should have faith that God is able to answer our prayers. Third, we go to God through faith in Jesus’ name. Finally, we should pray God’s word and particularly his promises. Where God has made promises we should remind God of his promises in our prayers. Where there is not a specific promise concerning our requests we pray reminding God of his general character taught in the scriptures or the way he has treated his people in general or individuals.
Heavenly Father, as the message of Jesus created faith in the woman, grant us faith to come to you in prayer and give us your word that we may pray your will for our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.