“Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 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.’” – Mark 7:26-28
Who comes to mind when you hear the word tenacious? Maybe it is your children, your landlord, or the man who cuts your grass and won’t go home without his check in hand. We have all known tenacious people, people who have been tenacious for good like Mother Theresa and people who have been tenacious for evil like Adolf Hitler. These are people who have a vision and a passion that drives them to persevere past obstacles and anything that would hinder what they feel called to do.
There were many tenacious people who came to Jesus. You may remember the blind man who would not stop screaming for Jesus to have mercy on him or the bleeding woman who used every extra ounce of her physical strength so that she could just touch the hem of Jesus’ robe. Mark describes another such tenacious person in his Gospel account. She is described as “a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth.”
This audacious Gentile woman who came knocking at the door was not even supposed to be talking to Jesus, let alone approaching him while in someone’s home. She was a woman, and she was a Gentile. Both counts disqualified her from access to a male Jew at that time. Everyone knew that the kingdom of God was for the Jews first. What the Jews forgot was there was a second part to the story, an expansion of the kingdom that extended even to the Gentiles.
This woman knew part two of God’s story, and she was desperate to see it come to pass. Her daughter was possessed, and she would break every societal rule and press past every obstacle to get healing for her precious daughter. Even though a Gentile woman, she knew the Scriptures. She knew that the kingdom of God began with the nation of Israel but then expanded to the Gentiles, and she must have also known that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah because he alone brought the expansion of the kingdom.
She knew. She believed. And she pursued Jesus with expectant faith. When Jesus challenged her with tough words, she persevered. In humility, she continued to ask Jesus to heal her daughter as she believed even the “crumbs” were enough. Though a Gentile woman, she was the ideal disciple of Jesus Christ.
Is this how you come to Jesus? Do you study his Word to know him and his plan for the salvation and redemption? Do you come to him with full faith, hope, and expectation? Are you willing to be desperate and humble, knowing that you are unworthy of his grace and healing? What about the obstacles that come or the tests of your faith? Do you persevere, keeping your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:1-2)?
Jesus is still looking for faith like this Syrophoenician woman. May he find that faith in you and in me today!
Consider ways that you become disheartened in your faith, and then ask the Lord to help you develop this kind of tenacity so that you, too, may pursue Jesus in full expectation! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
Comments will be approved before showing up.