Thursday, September 3, 2015

Mark 7:24-37 Healing Ministry is Bread, not a Side-Dish

KEY TEXT: Mark 7:27-30 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." But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." And he said to her, "For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter." 

KEY THOT: Jesus told the woman that divine healing is the “children’s bread”—in other words, a basic blessing that belongs to the Jews because they are God’s children, not for the “dogs”(Gentiles). Healing the sick and demonized is one of the basic right of every child of God because bread is the staple food in Jewish society, not a side-dish that can be dispensed with. The Syrophoenician woman understood that as a Gentile “dog” she had no priority to Jesus’ healing but she had faith that only Jesus could heal her daughter from the demon afflicting her. In desperation, she humbled herself and said: "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs" (v.28). When Jesus saw her attitude of faith revealed in what she said, he replied: “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter" (v.29). What an amazing grace!

Jesus’ priority for his ministry was to bring the gospel to the Jews first, in fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy given in Isaiah Isa 35:4-7. But God’s grace is not limited to the Jews. It is experienced by anyone who approaches Him with faith. Israel is not God’s people by the election of grace alone—it has to be accepted by their faith. Only faith can cause us to become God's children to experience His healing grace in our lives—irrespective of ethnicity or race. Jesus came to proclaim and demonstrate God’s coming kingdom. He healed the sick and demonized to confirm his message that the Kingdom of God has come. Healing the sick and demonized is as basic to that message of the Kingdom as bread and butter is to this world. Doubt is always finding reasons why God may not always heal. But faith that experiences God’s healing grace like the Syrophoenician woman’s is always finding a reason why God must heal today.

We are commissioned by the Lord to proclaim the Gospel by words and works: "And proclaim as you go, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons" (Matt 10:7-8). Here, Jesus commanded his disciples to do two things. Firstly, preach the good news: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand". Secondly, demonstrate its arrival: "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons." 

Jesus calls the healing ministry the “children’s bread”. It’s not a side-dish that can be dispensed with but central to the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Some churches want to run Alpha minus the session 9: “Does God Heal Today?” They are like restaurants that serve everything except bread and rice. 

Father, I thank You that the healing ministry is the bread ministry of the church,  May You strengthen our faith and empower us to demonstrate Your healing grace to all who come to You by faith. Amen.

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