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Mark 7:24-37

Author: Kent Berghuis

Beyond Our Borders
Mark 7:24-37

Main idea:  The Lord wants us to move beyond our cultural borders to reach people different from ourselves.

I.  The Lord will extend his healing to people from different nations, races, and cultures (24-30).

	A.  The test: will cultural barriers prevent the spread of the gospel? (24-27).

		--Jesus had traveled north to Tyre, a large Canaanite/Phoenician city with a long history of 
		    tension and Gentile commerce with Israel.
		--A Greek Phoenician woman with a demon-possessed daughter begged Jesus for healing.
		--Apparently Jesus had come to privately minister to Jewish people who lived there (he was 
			proclaiming himself as king of the Jews).  
		--Jesus' apparently blunt treatment of the woman needs a couple clarifications; first, the "dogs" 
			could refer to house pets or puppies; second, the words should be seen as a test of the 	
		   woman's faith--was she willing to accept Jesus' mission as it was, or was she just looking 		
	      for a favor?

	B.  The test passed:  people get beyond cultural boundaries when God is at work (28-30).

		--The woman calls Jesus Lord, showing her respect for him and his work.
		--She answers submissively and wisely; she shows that she understands her racial difference and 
			the nature of Jesus' mission, but she shows that she wants to be part of his plan.
		--Jesus shows he was looking for this kind of answer, and he heals the daughter from a distance.

II.  The Lord will extend his healing to the handicapped as well as those outside his borders (31-37).

	A.  A deaf/mute man is brought to Jesus for healing (31-32).

		--Jesus traveled from one Gentile region (Tyre and Sidon) through Galilee to go to another 
		Gentile region, the Decapolis ("Ten Cities") east of the Sea of Galilee.
		--Being deaf and mute is a serious handicap, especially in ancient times.

	B.  Jesus' healing reveals something about what his mission is about (33-37).

		--Jesus takes the man away from the crowd.
		--He uses the sense of touch to communicate his healing.
		--He "opened" the man's ears and mouth, perhaps suggesting that Christ wants to open us to God.
		--The healings recall Isaiah 35:5-6, an ancient prophecy about what the messiah would do when 
			God visited his people.  The people's words also recall Genesis 1:31, that when God 
			created the earth he made everything good.

Conclusion:  Jesus brought his gospel of healing to people of other nations and to the handicapped and 
oppressed.  As his followers, how are we involved in doing the same?


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