She Knew She was Bad
Loving Lord, in Your marvelous grace, today turn my memory into hope, my gratitude into energy, and my strength into service.
Read MARK 7:24-30
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Most of us feel shame somewhere within ourselves, sometimes very deeply buried. What about you? Reflect on where, and how, you feel ashamed. Pray about it.
This is one of the most beautiful stories in the Gospels. It follows from the preceding passage. Following quickly on his dialogue with the Pharisees, those champions of purity, Jesus goes straight to an unclean region (24a) where he enters an unclean house (24b). In the house, he talks with an unclean woman (a Gentile, v. 26) whose daughter has an unclean spirit (25). The Pharisees would have done none of these things for fear of defiling themselves, but Jesus has just “declared all foods clean” (19) and we now begin to see the wonderful consequences of that. If all foods are clean, then there are no longer impure places and people, either!
Readers often feel uncomfortable about Jesus’ words in v. 27 (where he seems to call the woman a “dog’) until they realize that he has not suddenly become a Pharisee himself, but is discerning her heart and reflecting how she feels about herself. She knows she is “unclean,” from a Jewish perspective. She has the deep inner belief that goes with the label. But now, out of love for her daughter, she is not going to let herself be directed by the inner message that says “keep away: you’re unclean!” Jesus’ beautiful response to her, delivered with such empathy and love, elicits her beautiful reply which reveals not only her own deep sense of uncleanness (she accepts the designation “dog’), but also her passionate love for her daughter (28). Of course healing follows, and not just for the daughter, but for the mother also, I believe, as she discovers the wonderful grace of this Savior who has broken down the wall between Jews and Gentiles and reaches out to all in need, without discrimination. In his eyes, she is not unclean. She, too, is loved and valued.
Put yourself in the place of this woman. What feelings are touched? Bring to Jesus any part of you that feels you are a worthless “dog.” Bask in his love.
Lord, sometimes I’m too hurt to speak, too ashamed to appear, too afraid to hope. Thank You for the assurance that “I am somebody,” somebody loved and very special to You.
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