March 19, 2017
Servant King – Week 10 – Jesus’ Missionary Heart
Servant King – Week 10 – Jesus’ Missionary Heart
Well, let me say it good to be speaking to you again today. I love when we have the opportunity to missionaries come and speak to us about what God is doing in their ministries but I admit I love to open up the word of God with you as well. Last time we started in Mark Chapter 7 and we saw that Jesus had another run in with the Pharisees. We discovered that Jesus loved the pharisees but His issue with them was that their hearts were not following God instead they were serving themselves. We learned that “The Heart of the Matter is the Matter of the Heart”, and we were challenged to deal with our sin in a unique way. Instead of trying to do behavior modification, and will ourselves to sin less instead we were to look at the heart behind the issue and surrender that to God and let him do the work of changing our hearts, when He does that the behavior change is a natural response.
With all the tensions that have been rising between the pharisees and Jesus and His disciples, Jesus knows that it is about to come to a head. They want to kill him but because “His time had not yet come” (John 7:6) Jesus get away. Before we get into this passage I think there is principle here we can learn from. Sometimes it is good to take a break. As I was preparing to name this sermon the first title I came up with was “Jesus goes on vacation”, because that is kind of what we see happen here
Mark 7:24 says it this way … Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.
Now Tyre as we learned back in week 4 was a good 3 days journey from where He is right now. Now we may not think that is very far away but realistically it is worlds away. The reason for this is the region he is finally going into is Gentile country. In fact this area today is part of Lebanon. It is not even part of Israel. This is very significant, in fact this is the only time in Jesus ministry that Jesus travels outside or Israel. Hense, “Jesus goes on vacation”. The Pharisees would never be caught dead going to Phoenicia. Culturally they were seen as the most heathen of all nations. History tells us that there was always hostility between Israel and this area. Jezebel was from this area. One commentary said it this way “Tyre probably represented the most extreme expression of paganism, both actually and symbolically, that a Jew could expect to encounter” .
But once again the purpose we see is that God has a plan in even this. Jesus goes to get away but God has a bigger plan in play. Jesus instead becomes a “missionary” to those who he goes to. This is significant because
- in this act Jesus opens up salvation to you and I as well
- Jesus recognizes that there is much more work to be done as the servant God that called Him to fulfill.
The same is true for us. There is so much work to be done, while we may go someplace for one purpose… if we are surrendered to His will, God will show us a much broader and greater purpose for those places and situations. You are a missionary in your workplace, You may think you are there to earn money for your family… God has you there to show people what it is like to be a servant of the King. To be an ambassador of the Kingdom of Christ!
25 In fact, as soon as she heard about Him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
When ever I read this in the past, I always thought that this was a very rude response. Jesus is calling her a dog. Now for some Jews (especially the Pharisees) that would have been a common thing. Dog’s were considered unclean scavengers unworthy of salvation. But the word Jesus used was not the common word for a “dog”, instead He used a word that corresponds to our word puppies. It is not a street scavenger but a household pet, which becomes more clear in the conversation. You see Jews saw dogs as unclean animals, but the gentiles kept them as pets. Cared for them, made them part of the family. not unlike how we do today.
Reread that sentence again with that understanding… “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the puppies. (beloved pet)”
different tone isn’t it? There is the crucial word “first.” Jesus was, I believe, testing the woman’s faith by saying, “I must first minister to Israel before I minister to Gentiles.”
28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
Her reply is not one of offense or condemnation, in fact it is very clever and displays the fact that she is not asking for much only a small thing to someone who is so powerful. She is tenacious and humble at the same time. She knew this was nothing to God.
29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Jesus displays His care and concern for her and her daughter. He makes the declaration and tells her that here response was what moved Him to action. Our response to God is often what moves God into action on our behalf. We we come to Him and pray, trusting that He is more than able. When we come to Him in faith, and recognize that nothing is too hard or difficult for God, that it is just crumbs from the Fathers table to do what we desire. Then God is moved by our faith.
31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.
This is a very circuitous route for Jesus and His disciples to take. All together this horseshoe-shaped journey would have constituted a 120-mile walk. Can you imagine the conversations on this long trip. I think Jesus must have been telling them why he came to the gentiles.
32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.
33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”).
I love this picture. Why did Jesus go through all these strange procedures? Picture it. (Volunteer?)
Jesus could have just blinked and healed this man, but instead He does this procedure to communicate what he is about to do in the spirit. Sometimes that is the way it works, sometimes we have to prepare people for what God wants to do in their lives by physically displaying to them who he is. This is one of the reasons we serve people. (Friends UNlimited) because sometimes people need to see the hands and feet of God through our actions, before they hear the words of His love and acceptance.
35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
His tongue was loosened … The original text says literally, “The shackle of his tongue was released.” Like a prisoner bound in chains, Jesus broke the fetters of his captivity and set him free.
36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
We have seen this several times but this time it hit me in a different way. They can’t stop talking about the greatness of God. Oh, how I wish that it was the same with us. That we would be so overwhelmed with the amazing work that God does in each of us that nothing could shut us up. That everyone would hear how amazing God is and how they can know Him. We would be inviting everyone we know to come to church to hear how amazing our God is.
And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf.
The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!
O for a thousand tongues to sing.
O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!
My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim,
to spread thro’ all the earth abroad the honors of your name.
Praise the Lord, Hallelujah
Praise the Lord oh my soul
Shout His praise never ending
Praise the Lord for evermore
Jesus! the name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease,
’tis music in the sinner’s ears, ’tis life and health and peace.
He breaks the power of cancelled sin, he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean; his blood availed for me.
Today is again communion. So just before we take it we are going to quickly read through the next section.
During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 2 “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”
4 His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”
5 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied.
6 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9 About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away,10 he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.
This is the second time Jesus does this same kind of miracle. This miracle is not the same one, in fact there ares some differences.
Feeding of the 5000
Feeding of the 4000
5 loaves 2 fish
7 loaves few small fish
1 day of teaching
3 days of teaching
springtime – NE of Galilee
SE of Galilee (Decapolis)
12 (small/lunch) baskets left over
7 man size baskets
one prayer of blessing
Jesus see the need, has compassion, calls His disciples, shows them the need and tells them to meet it.
So what is the significance with all the differences. Remember Jesus has declared nothing is unclean (2 weeks ago) then He goes specifically to the Gentiles (the unclean heathen) displays His love and concern for them, doesn’t refer to them as “dogs” but rather as beloved pets (part of the family), He then displays His love in visible ways. Finally after “3 Days”, he feeds the gentiles, becoming the bread of life, and displays that it is finished (number of completion, 7)
What an amazing display of the New Covenant with us. That is why we take communion. To remember what he did for us.
For more from this series you can CLICK HERE.
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