Monday, August 31, 2009

Mark 7:24-37 - The Lectionary Gospel Lesson for Sunday, September 6, 2009

This is my own translation of the lectionary gospel lesson for Sunday. Please make any comments concerning the passage you want. Together, let's discuss the Word of God:


24And [Jesus] arose and went from there into the region of Tyre. And although he went into a house and didn’t want anyone to know, he wasn’t able to remain unnoticed. 25But immediately, after a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him, she came and fell at his feet. 26And the woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by race. And she continued to ask him in order that he might cast out the demon from her daughter. 27And he said to her, "Allow first the children to be satisfied with food, for it’s not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs." 28And she answered and said to him, "Lord, even the dogs under the table eat from the crumbs of the little children." 29And he said to her, "Because you said that, go. The demon has come out from you daughter." 30And she went into her house and found the little child lying upon the bed and the demon had come out. 
31And again, when he was coming out of the region of Tyre, he went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32And they brought to him a person who was deaf and had trouble speaking, and they begged him so the he might lay upon him hands. 33And after taking him from the crowd by himself, he put his fingers into his ears and he spat and touched with the spittle his tongue. 34And after he’d looked up into heaven, he sighed, and he said to him, "Ephphatha," which means "Be opened." 35And immediately, his hearing was restored, and the string on his tongue was released, and he spoke properly. 36And [Jesus] ordered them so that they might tell no one. But however much he ordered them, they more zealously they proclaimed. 37And they were amazed beyond all measure and said, "He’s done everything well, the deaf hear and the dumb speak."


  1. At first glance, I want to answer the following questions:
    1. What’s the relationship between the two healings?
    2. How to they point toward the culmination of the first half of Jesus’s ministry?
    3. Why do the people in the second miracle disobey Jesus?
    4. What is the significance of “bread”?

    I also think it's important to look at the parallel passage in Matthew.

  2. Lectionary Scripture Notes for September 6, 2009 (Proper 18 | OT 23 | Pentecost 14)

    Here, as in so many other texts in "the Gospel of Jesus Christ" (Mark) and in related texts within the other Gospels in our New Testament, followers of Jesus during the second half of the 1st century of the common era were claiming that within the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the Risen Christ the expectations of the writers of Isaiah 35:4-7a, Psalm 146, and many other texts from the Older Testament had been fulfilled. The geography of the Mark 7:24-37 account (Tyre, Sidon, and the Decapolis) suggests that the fulfillment was perceived to have occurred not only within Israel geographically and theologically, but among non-Jews and beyond the land of Israel as well.

    From the vantage point of our Christian faith, we have no reason to question the fulfillment of these expectations within the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus perceived as the Risen Christ. We can note, however, that within the context of the early followers of Jesus the fulfillment of the expectations of the Isaiah 35:4-7a tradition, Psalm 146, and other similar texts from the Older Testament within the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was necessary in order to support the claims of followers of Jesus during the latter decades of the 1st century and later that Jesus as the Risen Christ is indeed the Son of God, the Representative of God, the Lord God Incarnate. Anything less than accounts such as Mark 7:24-37 of Jesus' healing power would have been inadequate. And so we proclaim this Mark 7:24-37 account today and next Sunday, with added appreciation to God for the healing powers that God makes available for us during our lifetimes through medical healing, surgical healing, psychiatric healing, and the healing power of faith.

  3. Hi Ed! Again I would be preaching the Epistle were I preaching this coming Lord's Day.

    However I did look at the Gospel for Sunday and as a commentary on it I read sections of a book called JESUS THE MIRACLE WORKER by Graham H. Twelftree. He is the Senior Pastor of North Eastern Vineyard Church in Adelaide Australia. Its one of three books on Miracles I have read in the past two years. His exegesis of this passage and the parallel passages related to it focused my mind on three points. (I love a good three point sermon.)
    1. The Gospel is for the Gentiles too.
    2. The Gospel cannot be silenced.
    3. The Gospel tests our faith as Jesus did the woman.

    Applying this I would begin by reversing those three points and dealing with the last first, etc. I would talk of ways the Gospel had tested my faith. It is good when we can share our faith experience to stimulate others. It reminds me of a section of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Address to the Students at Harvard (1837?) where he told the story of attending a church where the Pastor did not have any living experience to share. He concluded that that experience almost convinced him never to return to church again. Now Emerson was talking about a slightly different thing when he spoke of experience I think. But the question is still a valid one. What experiences have we had that tested our faith and by which our faith grew?

    If we have a living faith experience to share the Gospel cannot be stopped. Witness the great Martyrs of the Church. And we will share it with everyone - even across racial and cultural lines as St. Paul did.

    BTW Twelftree believes this is an authentic saying of Jesus because of the difficult saying in the passage that would be hard for the Gentiles to hear at the time Mark was written.