Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
The effects of a Sermon are not measured in the pews, but in the highways and byways where life happens. When Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, Luke recorded the following: “He came down with them [the twelve apostles] and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.” (Luke 6.17-19).
Much later in the ministry of Jesus, He visited the very place which Luke had mentioned, the region of Tyre and Sidon. Lest it escape our notice, this is the only time as an adult that we find Jesus on foreign soil. The press of the people and the hardheartedness of his adversaries had driven Him there. His desire in going there and in entering a particular house was to find respite from the rigors of His ministry, but as the following text reveals, such was not to be.
“From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden. For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said to her, 'Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.' And she answered and said to Him, 'Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.' Then He said to her, 'For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.' And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.” (Mark 7.24-30).
Jesus' earthly ministry was not designed to attract the Gentiles; that was to be an after effect which would occur naturally as the Gospel was preached to all the world, but like a light on a high place, somethings just cannot be hidden. From the noted text, look at why Jesus could not be hidden in the house where he had gone to retire. It was because of a woman whose young daughter needed His attention. “She kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.” She simply would not be denied! It was her persistence in the matter which revealed His presence there to others. His disciples wanted Him to send her away because she kept crying out after them; they were annoyed (see Matthew 15.21-28 for more details). Jesus allowed her to stay and even engaged her in conversation!
Time and space escapes me; I must tie up these ends! Who was there from Tyre and Sidon when Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount? Was it this woman, or a friend, or a relative? Perhaps she heard about Jesus from someone who happened to hear that day. At any rate, she knew that He had what her daughter needed and would not be denied! She hungered and thirsted after righteousness as evidenced by her persistence and by the fact that when she encountered Him, “...she came and worshiped Him, saying, 'Lord, help me!'” (Matthew 15.25). It was this persistence, this I-will-not-be-denied attitude that led to the healing of her daughter by the only one who could have performed such a feat!
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5.6). He said it, she believed it, and so should we!
1. When Jesus told the woman that the children should be filled first, what positive sign did she grasp in his response?
2. From Matthew 15.28, what great attribute did Jesus commend about this woman?
3. Would you say that this woman hungered and thirsted after righteousness? If yes, what evidence would you cite to support your claim?
4. Why did we say, “The effects of a Sermon are not measured in the pews, but in the highways and byways where life happens”? How was this woman affected, directly or indirectly, by the Sermon on the Mount?
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