How do you approach God? How does God approach you? We learn a lot about ourselves from the way we approach Jesus—what we really think about God, others, and ourselves. In today’s passage, we see how a Gentile woman and the friends of a deaf man approached Jesus. More importantly, we see how Jesus approached them!
- What are some of the ways you approach God? Are you shy, excited, fearful? How does this show up in the way you talk to God?
READ THE WORD: MARK 7:24-37 (ESV)
24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 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.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Describe the conditions or circumstances of the Syrophoenician woman and the deaf and mute man. Take a moment to consider the pain they have suffered.
- How do you think they viewed themselves? How did they view Jesus?
- How did Jesus treat the Syrophoenician woman and the deaf and mute man? Was he insulting, loving, direct? Do his words and actions strike you as odd?
- What would it look like today for you to approach Jesus in the same way that the Syrophoenician woman or the deaf and mute man did? What attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors would you need to change to approach him like they did? How is Jesus approaching you in your circumstances?
RESPOND TO GOD
I love the way the Syrophoenician woman and the friends of the deaf and mute man approached Jesus—desperate, yet fully confident in Jesus’ ability to change their dire circumstances. I also love the way Jesus approached them—not distant or disconnected, but with compassion and action.
- Make a list of the situations where you are desperate for Jesus’ help. Approach him in prayer, confident of his love for you and his concern for your circumstances.
- Ask Jesus to intervene on your behalf and believe he will respond!