Main Verse: Mark 7:29
by Brian Phillips
Jesus had just left Galilee, where He had been critical of a bunch of religious leaders for majoring on minor stuff. They were so focused on keeping “rules,” they didn’t realize that the rules they were keeping were not God’s rules to begin with. Instead, they were rules that made it easier for them to judge people.
Jesus never majored on the minor. He pointed out that it’s not what’s on the outside that matters, but what’s on the inside. He redefined what “unclean” meant, and what “clean” should mean. He criticized the leaders for acting like they were “clean” (spiritual) on the outside, when they were actually “unclean” (sinful) on the inside. He pointed out that a person is not made unclean by what they come in contact with, but what’s in their heart.
Thus, it was no surprise that after a 30-mile hike to Tyre, and after finding a place to get away from the crowds, Jesus gets to demonstrate what He meant. An “unclean” woman approaches Him with a request.
Gentiles were considered dogs by the Jewish people back then. And, since this woman was a Gentile, she was considered no better than a dog, and unclean to touch or be around. But, she was so desperate, she ignores protocol and falls at Jesus’ feet, begging Him to heal her daughter.
Jesus commends her for her faith, and heals her daughter.
Even though she was considered “unclean” because of her race, Jesus considered her “clean” because of her faith.
Food for Thought
October Sky is the true story of Homer Hickman, a young man who is enamored with the thought of launching a rocket, after seeing the world’s first satellite, Russia’s Sputnik, fly over his hometown.
One day, he steps into the high school cafeteria and sees the smartest (and, nerdiest) kid in school sitting alone. After taking a deep breath, Homer veers off from his group of friends to talk to the kid, to everyone’s disbelief.
Even the kid is skeptical when Homer approaches him, and says, “I don’t let anyone copy my homework!” But, he drops his guard when Homer asks, “Do you know anything about rockets?”
It is the beginning of a genuine friendship.
So What Now?
Can you think of anyone in your school who is “unclean?” Someone with whom other people don’t associate because he or she isn’t “cool?” Maybe you could be the difference between a person who sits by them self, or one who sits with a friend.
God, show me who needs to be loved today, and give me the confidence to love them in spite of their “uncleanliness.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.