September 7, 2003

Mark 7:24-37

[24] From there Jesus set out for the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house there where he didn't think he would be found, but he couldn't escape notice. He was barely inside when a woman who had a disturbed daughter heard where he was. She came and knelt at his feet, begging for help. The woman was Greek, Syro-Phoenician by birth. She asked him to cure her daughter.

[27] He said, "Stand in line and take your turn. The children get fed first. If there's any left over, the dogs get it."

[28] She said, "Of course, Master. But don't dogs under the table get scraps dropped by the children?"

[29] Jesus was impressed. "You're right! On your way! Your daughter is no longer disturbed. The demonic affliction is gone." She went home and found her daughter relaxed on the bed, the torment gone for good.

[31] Then he left the region of Tyre, went through Sidon back to Galilee Lake and over to the district of the Ten Towns. Some people brought a man who could neither hear nor speak and asked Jesus to lay a healing hand on him. He took the man off by himself, put his fingers in the man's ears and some spit on the man's tongue. Then Jesus looked up in prayer, groaned mightily, and commanded, "Ephaphatha! -- Open up!" And it happened. The man's hearing was clear and his speech plain -- just like that.

[36] Jesus urged them to keep it quiet, but they talked it up all the more, beside themselves with excitement. "He's done it all and done it well. He gives hearing to the deaf, speech to the speechless."

[The Message]


1. Who might your "daughter" be these days? On whose behalf are you willing to step outside the usual parameters and solutions? Is your "daughter" a member of your immediate family? of your relatively close community? halfway around the world? If we thought about our passionate concern for the poor beyond a generic mix and brought it to a specific "daughter" we might better engage our imagination to be effective in our advocacy.

2. I'm impressed that Jesus was impressed. So often we see Jesus as the teacher over us with every answer before the fact of the question. Here, in the mix of life, Jesus enters into dialogue. We might imagine the same conversation between Abraham and GOD over Sodom/Gomorrah. There GOD got the better of Abraham; here the woman gets the better of Jesus. How do you compare and contrast the two scenes of bargaining and impudent wit?

3. How do you think Jesus made the decision that a healing should be done more privately or as a public sign? Even private healings have a way of transforming life and such transformation is never silenceable. If the end result is notable, why are the means and explanations so various?