Great Expectations

Title: “Great Expectations”
Text: Mark 7:24-30

“And [Jesus] said to her, ‘Because of this answer, go; the demon has gone out of your daughter’” (Mk. 7:29, NIV)

“Then Jesus said to her, ‘O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.’  And her daughter was healed at once” (Matthew 15:28, NASB).

Have you ever had a major issue or problem that you needed fixed right away?  What if that problem was a major health concern… a life or death issue for a member of your immediate family?  Man.  That raises the stakes SIGNIFICANTLY, doesn’t it?  If you can imagine yourself in that situation – especially if the loved one of question is your young childthen you can maybe understand a little better the plight of this Syrophoenician woman in this passage.  She is in a desperate situation!  If we look at not only this passage in Mark 7, but the parallel passage of the same story from Matthew’s Gospel in Matthew chapter 15, we can get an even clearer picture of what is going on.  Consider the following

* Her young daughter is possessed by an evil spirit (demon)… bad situation.
* She is a woman, in a male-dominated societyworse situation.
* She is a Gentile, and Jesus is a Jew… even worse situation.
* The disciples are not “for” her… worse still.
* Even Jesus, at first, seems to be against her… the worst of situations!

So, what did she have going for her??

* She knew, by faith, that Jesus COULD heal her daughter…
* And she believed, by faith, that Jesus WOULD heal her daughter!

And He did.  Despite all that she had against her, she dug in her heels, clung to the power of God available to her, and would not take “no” for an answer!  The awesomeness of this story is not simply the fact that Jesus had power over Satan… the disciples already knew that.  It wasn’t just the fact that Jesus had power to speak a miracle into existence without touching the person who needed the miracle… they’d seen that, too (remember Jairus?).  It wasn’t even the fact that Jesus performed a miracle for a Gentile… but it was all of these things combined, and the fact that – in spite of all of these things – this woman held TENACIOUSLY to her faith!!!  Against all odds, she was determined not to give up faith!  THAT IS THE KIND OF FAITH THAT GETS GOD’S ATTENTION AND “MOVES” HIM INTO ACTION!

Today, as followers of Christ, we have all that we need to trust and obey God, yet for some reason… we often still do not take Him at His Word.  He says, “Ask, and you will receive.  Seek, and you will  find.  Knock, and the door will be opened to you.”  Yet, we find ourselves failing to “ask, knock, and seek,” and the sad thing is that Jesus is clear that we “don’t have, because we don’t ask” (James 4:2).  The lesson that we learn from the woman in this passage is that prayer must be relentless, if it is of faith.  Someone might ask, “Well, doesn’t that show a lack of faith, if I keep asking?  Isn’t it a sign of trust to pray and then just leave it with God?”  Jesus addressed that in Luke 18, with a story about a widown seeking justice from an unjust judge.  The widow kept asking, and kept on asking.. and asking… and asking… and the judge finally said to himself, “Jeezie peezie, let me help this woman, before she wears me out with all this asking!”  And then Jesus says something very interesting: “Listen to what the unrighteous judge said; now, will God not bring about justice for His elect who cry out to Him day and night and will He delay long for them?” (Luke 18:1-9).

Brothers and sisters, this is a cause for rejoicing… a “YAY GOD!” celebration, because it is a reminder that God is for us, even when it seems that everything is against us!  God delights in our coming to Him, in our asking from Him… but even more – OUR EXPECTATION THAT HE WILL ANSWER OUR CRY!  Like the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7… like the widow in Luke 18… we should lean in and continue asking, seeking, and knocking until Abba answers the door. 

Great God… in Your wisdom and inexhaustible knowledge, You always know what we need.  But You have commanded that we come and ask, and You have promised that You will answer.  According to Your will, the answer won’t always be what we want, not always the way we want it… but it will be for our best, and for Your glory.  Help us to always lean in on Your wisdom, Your grace, Your faithfulness and loyal love to us.  You are always there for us, looking out for us, and singing over us with love… for You love us so much.  To You be all the glory, wisdom, and power… in Jesus’ Strong Name… Amen!

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