Concerning Jesus the Bible says in Mark 7:24-30, “And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into a house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophonecian by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not good to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.”
In this incident Jesus had traveled to the cities of Tyre and Sidon. These two cities are not in Israel and they never have been. Today they are a part of the country of Lebanon. We know that Jesus spent most of His ministry in the cities and towns of Israel, but we also know that His gospel is for everyone in the world. One reason that Jesus went to this city was to touch the life of this woman. Anywhere in the world, if there is someone who is ready to be touched by the Lord, the Lord will find a way of getting the truth to them. That is the answer to the question of what about those who live in the most remote parts of the world and who have not yet heard. The Lord may want to send you to some of them, but if you will not go, He may have to go Himself.
Jesus went to Tyre and Sidon, but even in going there He still wanted to make clear what the primary purpose to His ministry was. That’s what Jesus was talking about when He said to her, “Let the children first be filled.” He was talking about the children of Israel. The Messiah came to the people of Israel first of all. To find the reason for that we have to go all the way back to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the promises that God made to them about the future. Those great and precious promises about the nation of Israel were repeated and expanded over and over in the Old Testament. The Messiah would be sent to the nation of Israel to save them. Jesus came to fulfill those promises. The promises extended out from the nation of Israel to the rest of the world. If you really are going to understand what is going on in the world today and what is going to happen in the future, you must understand that Israel is still on God’s mind. The spirit of prophesy centers around Israel. Salvation started in and extends out of Israel in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the reason for all of the persecution against the Jews and the nation of Israel. Satan hates Israel because the Messiah came out of Israel. Satan hates Israel because God made promises about Israel’s future. Revelation 12:1-2 says, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pain to be delivered.” The woman is Israel and the child is Jesus. And then Revelation 12:13 says, “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.”
The Messiah came to Israel first of all, and then afterwards His gospel was spread to the rest of the world: to the Jew first, and then also to the Greek. That is what Jesus was saying to the woman when he said that first of all bread is given to the children and not to the little pet dogs. He was not insulting her, and she did not take it as an insult. He was just explaining to her the biblical principle that the gospel was taken to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. The answer that this woman gave showed her faith in Jesus. She had the clever answer, “Yes, Lord, yet the little dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.” She was confident that there was every reason that even she could request help from Jesus and find it. That’s faith. If you have faith, you will not look at reasons why God will not help you: you will instead see reasons why He will. The person who has no faith says, “God will not bless me because I am too much of a sinner.” In contrast to that, the person who has faith says, “Even though I am a great sinner, God is merciful and gracious. Therefore, I can ask God to help me and He will.”
The next incident in the life of Jesus is recorded in Mark 7:31-37. It says, “And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He has done all things well: he makes both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.”
The first thing to notice about this deaf and dumb person was that he was brought to Jesus by others. If you care about someone, really care about them, then you will by all means want to bring them to Jesus. There is nothing better that you could do for anyone in the world than to bring them to Jesus. Jesus can save their soul. Jesus can forgive them their sins, and Jesus can solve any problem that they have no matter how impossible it may seem.
When Jesus healed this deaf and dumb man, Jesus touched his ears and his tongue. This was probably done so that the people would see clearly where this healing came from. These kinds of things were done by Him so that we all might know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Who else can make the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak? When Jesus touches someone’s life, they become able to hear things that they could never hear before. They can henceforth hear the truth of God’s Word, something to which they had been entirely deaf before. Those who have been touched by Jesus can also use their own speech in ways that they had never before been able to do. Instead of the poison of asps being under their lips, they can now proclaim the sweetness and the goodness of the love of God. Until you come to know Jesus as Savior, spiritually speaking you also are deaf and dumb. When people see the change that Jesus has made in your life, surely they will say the same thing about you that was said in this situation: “He has done all things well: he makes both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.”
One thing that we should notice about Jesus is that it says that when Jesus healed this man, Jesus “sighed.” This is a very revealing thing to say about Jesus: to say that He sighed. To sigh in this context means to moan or in some way to express without words a very deep-felt emotion. What was the deep emotion that came from the heart and soul of Jesus? Was it sorrow and compassion for the condition of this man? Perhaps it was something greater. Perhaps it was sorrow and compassion for the condition of the entire human race. We live in an age when too many people are selfish and callous to the sufferings of others and are only touched by their own needs and never by anyone else’s. Thank God that Jesus has compassion on people, all people. Thank God that Jesus is deeply concerned about the suffering of the human race. Thank God that He died to solve the sin problem, and thank God that Jesus has a plan to one day fix all the other problems of the human race. He cares. He has compassion. Jesus sighed.
In Mark chapter 6 we were told about the feeding of the five thousand. Now here in Mark chapter eight a very similar incident takes place: the feeding of the four thousand. The Bible says in Mark 8:1-9, “In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for some of them came from far. And his disciples answered him, From where can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? And he asked them, How many loaves have you? And they said, Seven. And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.”
Why did Jesus feed five thousand people and then turn right around and feed this group of four thousand? One reason is because in each situation when confronted with people in need, Jesus always helped them. He never turned anyone away, and He will not turn you away either if you come to Him seeking His help. Jesus cares even when no one else does. Another reason for the feeding of the four thousand is because the disciples did not learn very well the significance of what Jesus did the first time. After the feeding of the five thousand the Bible says in Mark 6:52, “For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” How easily we forget! How often the Lord reminds us over and over of His great mercy and love? How could you doubt His willingness to forgive you, when He has forgiven you so many times before?
All of the lessons taught in the feeding of the five thousand are also taught in the feeding of the four thousand: 1. The fact that Jesus has compassion on us (on our physical needs as well as our spiritual needs). 2. The fact that Jesus can do anything. If we cannot do it, then Jesus can. 3. The fact that Jesus will take the little bit that we offer Him, and He will expand it and make something greater out of it. Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever? What He did once, He will do again. “It is no secret what God can do. What He has done for others, He will do for you.”
As the centuries roll by, one thing has never changed: human nature. If you are a witness for God, you will find along the way that some of the people that you meet believe, but some do not believe. The same thing even happened to Jesus. There were many people who believed on Jesus because He did all things well, and because no man ever spoke as this man; but there were some who would not believe in Him no matter what they heard or what they saw. Among this group were especially religious people: the Pharisees. The Bible says in Mark 8:10-12, “And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, Why does this generation seek after a sign? Verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.”
If you ever become a teacher, people will ask you questions. But remember that there are two kinds of questions. There are questions that honest people ask because they respect you as a teacher, and they want to learn, and they want to find an answer that they hope you can give to them. But then there are questions that deceitful people ask for the purpose, not of learning, but for the purpose of trying to trip you up or trying to make you look bad. That’s what a lot of the news media do when they interview people. Sometimes the interviews are not for the purpose of gathering information, but simply for the purpose of trying to make someone look bad. That’s exactly what the Pharisees were trying to do with Jesus. They considered Jesus to be a competitor. After all, they wanted to be the teachers. They recognized right off that Jesus was teaching different things than they had been teaching the people. This is a good example of the wrong kind of competition. They competed with someone with whom they ought to have been cooperating. This kind of competition turned them into worse people. This kind of competition caused them to resist God and to deny Christ. We see clearly the attitude of Jesus to this kind of selfish and self-righteous person who resists God. Jesus said, “There shall no sign be given unto this generation.” These were religious people, self-righteous and legalistic. In order to receive from the Lord, they must turn from their wicked ways, humble themselves, and confess their sins of pride and selfishness and rebellion against God. “Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.”
Copyright; 2002 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved