Sunday, May 27, 2018

Mark 8:14-15 - The Leaven of the Pharisees and the Leaven of Herod


Mark 8:14-15
14 And they had forgotten to take bread, and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. 15 And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

Message: The Leaven of the Pharisees and the Leaven of Herod

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying: 

Preface: Jesus continues his journey to preach the Gospel: Repent and Believe. But not everyone believes. He sees in people differences of belief and unbelief. Along the way Jesus has a desire to meet people's needs as many have needs and have sacrificed much simply to come see and hear from Him. But the Pharisees are also questioning Him, seeing in Him something much different from the tradition of the time. Most recently, he has declared to the Pharisees that he isn't there to put on a magic show and show them a sign as he knows mere signs will not bring them to faith.

Those questions from the Pharisees in verses 11-13 were an interlude and now Jesus comes back to the disciples, who were with him, entering a boat, on their way to the district of Dalmanutha, the region of Galilee. After feeding the 4000, they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. Then Jesus entered the boat with His disciples. And now we read they had forgotten to take bread, and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. So after feeding 4,000 and having bread left over they got into the boat, but left the bread behind or maybe they had sent it with the 4,000 people who were returning their journey home. Either way, they did not have bread. 

But Jesus wants to teach them something through this process as he always does. It is like he can't seem to get through a message with the disciples. They continue to make their decisions about what they can see in front of them. Jesus is trying to have them look at life through His eyes and what God can provide. They are not to look at life just with one sense: their eyes. The message of the Gospel includes beholding the Power of God and believing in it. It is believing that God can change circumstances beyond what we can see or even according to our understanding (Prov. 3:5). It is trusting in the power of God. It is a sobering lesson and reminder to me as I navigate through life. Is my hope in life short-sighted? 

Jesus transitions to a statement on leaven. Leaven expands dough. Leaven or yeast ferments the starches in the dough and cause the dough to increase in size. Without it, the dough would just be flat and not rise. One does not need much leaven, but just a little is needed. Leaven is a common term used in the Bible and it generally is speaking of sin in a person. The little amount of sin, while seemingly insignificant has far-reaching outcomes. 


So, Jesus says Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Look out, even the little amount of leaven that the Pharisees bring forward can transform what is good and useful into something bad and useless. It is unclear exactly what was being referred to that would taint things, but no matter, there is the warning that a little can change a lot in life. 

I notice this. In life we tend to call out the big sins: murder, corruption, embezzlement, adultery, alcoholic or other addictions - we call out the things that society might throw you in a jail cell or prison for a long time. Right now, in our country the issue is sexual harassment. And that itself is a good example, because that is something that may seem insignificant to one person, but to another person, the offending party, it materializes into something bigger. I notice in life then that what we often do is dance with danger. In a subtle manner, we allow things to come into our lives and view them as harmless and over time they take over. 

I continue to be amazed at American society and this age of entertainment in which we live in. All o life seems to center on this, to the point that we are now in a constant state of not simply rewriting our morals, but abandoning them. So, we must be careful, as Numbers points out, be careful in our lives of what we are allowing to effect it.  

Summary: Jesus continues to teach through all of life's circumstances. This is the amazing thing about Jesus is he takes any situation and teaches. Here the disciples have gotten on a boat without the food they had and Jesus startles them with the idea that they need to be aware of how they can in a subtle way be drawn away. He uses the bread to speak of the leaven. Don't get caught up in what you don't have.  

Promise: From Tabletalk - When we harden our hearts even just a little bit and refuse to obey God on what we might consider a minor matter, we introduce leaven in our lives that can spread to other areas. It is imperative, therefore, that we regularly repent of our disobedience and seek to obey the Lord in all of life. We should be striving for obedience in all matters, not just the really "big" ones.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to value all of life and to take seriously all my choices  of how I spend my time. I want to not only glorify you, but protect myself from the way I allow matter into my life that does not please you. Guard us Lord. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Mark 8:11-13 - A Generation that Sought a Sign

Mark 8:11-13
11 The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. 12 Sighing deeply in His spirit, He *said, “Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 Leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side.

Message: A Generation that Sought a Sign

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying: 

Preface: Jesus, after spending get-away time in Tyre and Sidon and Decapolis area also heals a demon possessed daughter and a blind man. Prior to this Jesus was emphasizing to his disciples and even the scribes the focus on the heart of man, as the Pharisees continued to emphasize the outward works. Jesus is really concerned about the heart. He spends time with many people, who have come from far away to see Him and then he takes care of their need to eat, using what has been provided, multiplying it for what everyone needs. He then leaves, with the disciples on a boat to the district of Dalmanutha.

I haven't done an entry in 2 weeks, simply allowing the other parts of life to fill up my time. We were on vacation for 6 days attending a wedding in Atlanta for my wife's nephew, but in general I have not been prioritizing time in the Word. Therefore, it is taking me a moment to get my mind wrapped around this text. In general, I think Jesus is trying to continue his message of repent and believe pronounced after his baptism. He is willing to teach many things along the way, often dispelling people's assumptions about Him or the way they have previously been trained to think of God.

After feeding the 4,000 he goes with the disciples to the town of Dalmanuthu or Magadan, in the region of Galilee. Mark mentions that as Jesus came into the City, The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him. The Pharisees arguing with Jesus was not uncommon. Jesus continues to share with the Pharisees the idea of the inside, the inward, motivations rather than the outward. But, this goes against their thinking. And it goes against our thinking today. We still live most of our life and judge life based upon what we see.

Thus, they were seeking from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. For them, having Jesus was not good enough. I often think today if people could just see Jesus then they would believe, but many would still not be changed. Here he was living and working in people's lives and yet, many were still not convinced. Here, they were somewhat demanding proof.

Jesus' response: Sighing deeply in His spirit. I think it is great how we consistently get to experience in the Gospels, the humanity of Jesus. Jesus was fully human and even though he was God he thought and expressed himself often as a human. And this is an example. Undoubtedly He was amazed that people who had already seen or heard directly from those that had seen Jesus remained unbelieving. He must have realized that nothing he says will be good enough. This is the tragedy in life often, that people are sometimes so set in their ways that change or seeing something differently is not possible. We become conditioned to think and believe a certain way. And so this is Jesus' response. There was a stark difference in people for the healing he had previously performed were coming from people that did believe in him. Where these Pharisees clearly did not believe.

Summary: Jesus, even after all he has done, still receives words of unbelief from so many. And this reminds us that some people have a stubborn spirit and will only change as the Lord softens their hearts. Jesus here is in the town of Dalmanuthu, in the area of Galilee and this reading has the Pharisees questioning him, again.

Promise: Nothing we can do or say can convince those that have hardened their hearts to believe in Christ. Only God can overcome it.

Prayer: Lord, soften hearts. My heart breaks for people to not be convinced of you. My heart breaks when people think their physical needs must be met first. Lord, you have healed us eternally and have saved us today, tomorrow, and for all time. Lord, for those that do not follow you, I pray that their hearts would be softened by You God. I continue to pray Ezekiel 36:26 for many - I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Mark 8:1-10 - Feeding Four Thousand

Mark 8:1-10
1 In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and *said to them, 2 “I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.” 4 And His disciples answered Him, “Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?” 5 And He was asking them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” 6 And He *directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people. 7 They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. 8 And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. 9 About four thousand were there; and He sent them away. 10 And immediately He entered the boat with His disciples and came to the district of Dalmanutha.

Message: Feeding Four Thousand

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying: 

Preface: Jesus, after spending time in Tyre and Sidon and Decapolis area, it seems, trying to get away for a bit, also spent time healing a demon possessed daughter and a blind man. Prior to this Jesus was emphasizing to his disciples and even the scribes the focus on the heart of man, as the Pharisees continued to emphasize the outward works. Jesus is really concerned about the heart.

Yet, people still have needs. This story of the feeding of four thousand reads easy. It is a simple story of people in need and Jesus meeting that need. Like the previous story of the feeding of 5,000, the people impacted are a large group of Gentiles, on the road for days, only to see Jesus. Chances are, though it is not recorded in scripture, Jesus spent time with these travelers, speaking to them, perhaps even healing people in various ways. In essence this was a retreat for many, to go see Jesus and see who this man is and what he is about. Rather than sending them away hungry, he takes what food he has and provides it to them.

They ate and were satisfied - thus, they received what they needed to now make their journey home. And they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. People were famished and yet there was still food left over. Another interesting note is that  four thousand were there. Previously, when Jesus fed five thousand, those 5,000 mentioned were men, which meant there were probably closer to 15,000 or more with families. Yet, here 4,000 are mentioned. The other sad part of this story is how slowly the disciples are learning about Jesus and what he can do. His disciples answered Him, “Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?” Jesus has already fed and done so many other things for the disciples to see the power that he has and yet they still don't see it.

I think it is interesting here that Jesus doesn't seem make something happen out of thin air, but he uses commodities already present, but multiplies their use. In a similar way, Jesus uses us, his followers and works through us in an amazing way.

Summary: Jesus, after spending time with many people, who have come from far away to see Him, takes care of their need to eat, using what has been provided, multiplying it for what everyone needs. He then leaves, with the disciples on a boat to the district of Dalmanutha.

Promise: From Tabletalk - Sometimes we find ourselves doubting the Lord’s concern for us and His ability to meet our needs. If we were to remember what He has done for us, particularly in rescuing us from sin when we were hopelessly lost, we would find ourselves more apt to trust that He will provide. Think on what the Lord has done for you, and trust that He will come through again because He loves you.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for this message that reminds me that you work through what has been provided, but in a mightier way that it appears. You God are there for us and provide us what we need at all times. You take care of us. I thank You and Praise your name. Help us to get out of the way and let you work.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mark 7:36-37 - The Crowd's Response to Jesus

Mark 7:36-37
36 And He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it. 37 They were utterly astonished, saying, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Message: The Crowd's Response to Jesus

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying:

PrefaceJesus speaks to all the people, going beyond just the scribes, and declares clearly that when speaking of being clean, the key is what comes out of a person, not what is taken in. Jesus goes to the region of Tyre and Sidon in an attempt to get away from ministry in Galilee for a time, perhaps in hopes of getting away from the crowds. But news of him is there as well and a woman appears to him requesting that an unclean spirit (demon) be removed from her daughter. Once again here, the emphasis seems to be on the disciples and teaching about the faith he is looking for in people. Jesus continues his journey, arriving in the region of Decapolis, and this time the healing of a deaf man is mentioned, fulfilling a prophecy from Isaiah 35:5. Jesus touches the man placing his fingers into his ear and touches his tongue giving him speech.

After healing the man, giving hearing and speech to this man He gave them orders not to tell anyone; Jesus had come to this region for a purpose and it seemed to teach his disciples and preach a message but he had to have know the impact healing would have had on people who were suffering. In this time, there was no medicine or hospitals or care that could occur when sickness or disease afflicted people. Upon being wounded, many simply died or suffered for long periods. So for Jesus to come and heal people must have produced a crazy amount of hysteria in this region. And yet He still had a mission: for people to repent and believe and believe in the Gospel of God.  And he knew his work would not just incite good people to want him but also incite religious people to be concerned about him and make a commotion as well. And sure enough the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it. 

Tabletalk devotional states: the common first-century Jewish expectation regarding the Messiah was for a conquering king who would overthrow Rome’s control of Palestine. If Jesus was widely acclaimed as the Messiah, it could inspire revolutionary zeal among the people and cause the Romans to arrest Jesus before it was time for His crucifixion.

Mark records that they were utterly astonished, saying "He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak." I think Jesus was really most concerned about teaching the disciples. The key to his ministry and its effectiveness seems to be the work of the disciples in proclaiming that message and he wants them to be properly equipped as we are to be equipped today. Often we get caught up in the power that God has over people, often healing people from something they previously thought was a part of their lives always, that they had been afflicted with, but Jesus clearly wants people to see the eternal result of the gospel and forgiveness of sin. It is almost as if he is saying, "Don't miss the real reason I have come."

Summary: Jesus is here to preach the gospel, to save sinners, to forgive. But he is also there for people to give them new life.

Promise: God is good all the time. To echo the words of Mark, I can apply them to all that Jesus is and he does do all things well.

Prayer: Lord, help me to not miss the message of who you are and what you are doing. I pray that we would embrace your words and see them as life changing. Thank you for the way you are working in people's lives. Keep us focused on the truth of your message.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mark 7:31-35 - Healing a Deaf Man

Mark 7:31-35
31 Again He went out from the region of Tyre, and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of Decapolis. 32 They brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty, and they implored Him to lay His hand on him. 33 Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; 34 and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!” 35 And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly.

Message: Healing a Deaf Man

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying:

PrefaceJesus speaks to all the people, going beyond just the scribes, and declares clearly that when speaking of being clean, the key is what comes out of a person, not what is taken in. Jesus goes to the region of Tyre and Sidon in an attempt to get away from ministry in Galilee for a time, perhaps in hopes of getting away from the crowds. But news of him is there as well and a woman appears to him requesting that an unclean spirit (demon) be removed from her daughter. Once again here, the emphasis seems to be on the disciples and teaching about the faith he is looking for in people.

As I continue to walk through these texts in the book of Mark, I wanting to see the way Jesus ministered to people, what was he looking for in followers, what is he asking of his disciples and what is he communicating about himself. And then as I discover those truths, I want them to help define my world today. It seems that throughout my life the idea of receiving Jesus into your heart and then making this commitment in your life to live a different life, one that is glorifying God has always been the key or the crux of what life in Jesus is all about. To the point, that unless we see people have made this kind of decision in their life then they aren't saved. Since early nineties, I see many churches getting away from this or at least the churches I've been a part of. The church I'm attending right now doesn't do this. There is no altar call nor is there even any mention of it or talking to a pastor. There is talk of getting baptized. There is talk of missions and working alongside other churches, but not a one time decision. Granted, each church there is a confession time and then the message of grace.

I live in New Mexico which has a very strong Roman Catholic background. I tend to watch the faiths of those that are Catholic. In many ways I often don't see a life that is that much different from anyone else. Yet, people say they believe in God. They might attend church but generally it seems to be more of a family thing, perhaps even wanting to please grandparents who are very much intertwined with the church. I'm not even sure they understand sin these days. In general, I see society being trained much more by the culture than the Word of God. But there is still this cord of faith for many and the idea that there is a God and we need him in our life. And I don't know what is going on inside of them, I only see their words, which also includes cursing, going to the same movies as everyone else, only going to church when they feel like it and just sort of walking through life with God present, but maybe not living and active. I don't know. That's what I see.

And so as I stare at these texts, speaking of Jesus, I wonder what is the message of Jesus. Mark started us off in the first chapter with what I see as a message and mission: The time is fulfilled; and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe in the gospel of God. So, evidently there is a need to repent or turn from sin and then there is this quest to believe in the gospel of God or the good news. Yet, what is not yet apparent is what this Gospel is. Obviously, the texts are not comprehensive in that they don't have all of Jesus' conversations, only simple highlights. But, it remains of interest to me. Lately, it seems that Jesus is focus on teaching the disciples. He continues to heal people as they continue to come to them but through that process are lessons of faith and trusting in God's power.

The journey for Jesus continues. He heads toward the region of Decapolis, probably logging another 120 miles. That journey would take him probably a couple of weeks. So there is much that must have gone on which we do not know about. The healing of the deaf man is straight forward, although it is also prophesied in Isaiah 35:5 - And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf.  Jesus was very detailed in the way he healed this man. Others had been healed by a word, but Jesus gave this man feeling so he could feel his work possibly. Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!” And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly.

Summary - Jesus continues his journey, arriving in the region of Decapolis, and this time the healing of a deaf man is mentioned, fulfilling a prophecy from Isaiah 35:5. Jesus touches the man placing his fingers into his ear and touches his tongue giving him speech. 


Promise: We can always trust Him even when He does things that we do not understand.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for showing me your life. Continue to help me to understand the way you work and the central message of the Gospel of God. Thank you for giving me life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Mark 7:27-30 - The Faith of a Gentile Woman

Mark 7:27-30
27 And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered and *said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” 29 And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” 30 And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left.

Message: The Faith of a Gentile Woman

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying:

Preface: Jesus speaks to all the people, going beyond just the scribes, and declares clearly that when speaking of being clean, the key is what comes out of a person, not what is taken in. Jesus goes to the region of Tyre and Sido in an attempt to get away from ministry in Galilee for a time, perhaps in hopes of getting away from the crowds. But news of him is there as well and a woman appears to him requesting that an unclean spirit (demon) be removed from her daughter.

Mark mentions this Gentile woman who begs Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter. And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” Jesus had previously commissioned his disciples to go and preach, first to the children of Israel and then later, to go into all the world. This exchange with this woman seems odd to me as the words from the Syrophoenician woman were just begging him to cast a demon out of her daughter, so why the response about children by satisfied first. Commentators have said that Jesus' words referred to Israel (the children), the gospel (bread), and the Gentiles (dogs). Thus, he was implying that she was a dog, but it seems that his exchange was not necessarily to be taken seriously or rather his purpose in saying the words he did was to get the response that he did. But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” Thus, the woman had faith and believed that the dogs or Gentiles still had a claim to the gospel. So, what Jesus was doing was continuing to teach his disciples. He wanted them to see the value there is in all persons. Prejudices were obviously present. People shows favoritism for different classes of people and Jesus did not want his disciples to approach people in this way.

Jesus shows here that he is looking for faith. This woman responded with faith in stating that even those individuals who may not have been the primary audience for the gospel can benefit from it. But, I don't think Jesus is saying this. He is looking for faith. He is wanting people to show that they have the faith and whenever they do, he backs up the truck and gives them what they ask.

Verse 30 is interesting because the woman seems to have gone to Jesus without her daughter. And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left. Tabletalk records here these words --
Ultimately, the encounter is about the place of Jews and Gentiles in God’s kingdom. The children—the Jews—get presented the kingdom first, and afterward, the dogs—the Gentiles—hear of it as well. This Gentile woman recognized the propriety of that plan. She did not ask for first place but in faith believed that Christ was for her as well.
Summary - Jesus goes to the regions of Tyre and Sidon and upon his arrival, a woman comes to him (without her daughter by her side) asking Jesus to heal her daughter, possessed by a demon. Jesus uses the situation to teach his disciples that faith is what he is looking for in people, not heritage (i.e. a Jew or even a Gentile). The woman shows her faith and she is healed.

Promise: Jesus lavishes his grace upon us. He wants to see us acknowledge our faith in him.

Prayer: Lord, I have faith in you. I do. And yet sometimes the way I act in my life gives the idea that I don't. I believe you are the Creator of all. I believe that you have saved me. I have faith in you. When I pray, I believe that you will do what I ask. Keep me aligned with you each day. Keep me focused on you, believing that you will do what you said, what you say.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Mark 7:24-26 - Jesus Visits Tyre and Sidon

Mark 7:24-26
24 Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice. 25 But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.

Message: Jesus Visits Tyre and Sidon

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying:

Preface: Jesus speaks to all the people, going beyond just the scribes, and declares clearly that when speaking of being clean, the key is what comes out of a person, not what is taken in. If the people want to know what defiles, it is what comes out of a person that matters most. Jesus, in a way, concludes the utter defilement of the heart by naming a list of these sins and repeats the idea that evil comes from within. While we stare at the outward, it is what is on the inside that matters most. 

Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. I am reminded in Scripture that lines like this denote considerable time. Jesus getting up from where he was an then going to the region of Tyre. The distance between Capernaum (Galilee region) and Tyre was 35 miles; between Capernaum and Sidon is closer to 50 miles. Thus, to walk this distances would most likely take about a week, unless the terrain was different or the route was different. But we don't know for sure that he went from one place to another or from one region to another. The regions of Tyre and Sidon had a history of being wicked cities, paganism and opposition to Jews. Yet, these places ended up being more friendly to Jesus.

And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it. This is description is unique to the Gospel of Mark, as it is told in Matthew's account. It seems to be an indication that Jesus wanted to avoid publicity. yet He could not escape notice. Christ's fame had spread from Galilee to this region. Perhaps Jesus went to this region for the sole purpose of wanting to get away from the crowds and retreat to a more heathen territory where he could achieve rest or perhaps engage in community with his disciples. I am not sure who was with him or what his motivation was in coming to the region of Tyre and Sidon, but it seems clear now that it wasn't necessarily to minister to any one specifically. Mark mentions that he went to a house (not sure who) and wanted no one to know of it. Although he knew someone, he hoped to be there anonymous, but word of him spread.

Therefore, after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. As I read these words and for a moment pretend that I don't know the words of Matthew, who provides a different type of detail from Mark's account, I look at what Mark emphasizes. She fell at His feet. Perhaps she had the feeling that only Jesus could do the healing. And yet, there are no words spoken and the description offered is her daughter had an unclean spirit and the woman kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. This woman's knowledge of Jesus was word of mouth. And from this account it is not apparent what she knew of Jesus other than that he could help her daughter.

For me, personally, as I read Mark's gospel account I sense that there is a sort of tension with Jesus in that people want to be healed and yet Jesus has first and foremost a mission of preaching repentance and belief. And it seems at times that even the healing exercises can at times lose track of this mission. After Jesus was baptized and declared his mission, he calls his first disciples, enters Capernaum and begins to speak things in the synagogue to show his authority and it hear we read then of him rebuking a spirit. But, the rebuke comes after his words that are spoken. The teaching and the command over unclean spirits made news of him spread (1:27-28). And then Jesus heals many more as people come to him but in verse 38 he wants to go us elsewhere, to other towns nearby, in order that I may preach, for that is what I came out for. A leper is cleansed, a paralytic is healed but each of those acts is still couched in speaking of his authority and forgiveness of sins. And so what Mark seems to be wanting to emphasize is Jesus and what he taught and yet very often what people wanted or what he highlighted was Jesus commanding evil spirits to leave or Jesus healing people of their diseases or raising a girl from the dead. But, all the while Jesus is sharing his message, unveiling his truth. He wants the message to shine.

Summary - Jesus seems to retreat to Tyre and Sidon, perhaps in hops of getting away from the crowds. But news of him is there as well and a woman appears to him requesting that an unclean spirit (demon) be removed from her daughter.

Promise: Despite our intended missions, we must be prepared for events that may temporarily take us off our intended path and approach them with the same calling that we have.

Prayer: Lord, continue to teach me from your Word. Lord, I have enjoyed getting to know Mark and his approach to you and your message of salvation. He shows your authority and your power and your way of forgiveness. Lord, everywhere people need to turn from sin and go towards belief in You, trusting in You completely. I pray that this happens in others, in me. I want to know you. And want to make you known.