What is the Meaning of Mark 7.24-8.10

“Shocking Response of Faith

Mark 7:24-8:10

INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Mark 7.24-8.10

Mark chapter 7.Last week, we were in Mark chapter 7. We looked at the first 23 verses together. There we saw how the Pharisees confronted Jesus about the disciples not practicing the traditions of the elders. And of course as we saw, the traditions of the elders ran contrary to the explicit teaching of Scripture. And so Jesus clarifies the true nature of defilement and the true nature of a relationship with God. We noted that true defilement is not at all external ceremonial uncleanness, but it is a matter of the sin that is within the heart. Also, true biblical worship as well is a matter of the heart, not an external honoring of God with the lips.

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And we noted last time how that story in Mark 7:1-23 relates to these next three stories. And I’d like to address that again briefly here to prepare us for the message this morning. The first part of Mark 7 prepares us for the three miracle stories of chapter 7:24 through chapter 8:10.

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You remember from what we studied last week that Mark was preparing us for the transition of Jesus’ ministry to the Gentiles. And these 3 stories highlight God’s dramatic shift away from a primarily Jewish ministry into more of a Gentile ministry through the life and ministry of Jesus.

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And to prove that last week, we argued three points. We attempted to prove that Jesus fully intends to include Gentiles in the kingdom of God and Mark is prepping the readers for this.

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To prove that Jesus fully intends to include Gentiles in the kingdom of God, Mark shows in chapter 7:1-23 in different ways that he is writing to Gentiles. Remember he had to describe the reasoning behind the Pharisees’ handwashing and their practice of Corban. Ok, so Mark has to explain that because he’s writing to Gentiles. So just because of the fact that Mark is writing to Gentiles demonstrates that through Jesus, God fully intends to include Gentiles in the kingdom of God. Why else would they get an inspired gospel?

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Also, you remember Mark’s comment on Jesus’ teaching in 7:19 that food cannot defile a man. Well, Jesus, by saying this, declared all foods to be clean, Mark says. Of course you remember that the Jews had their dietary laws. And last week we made the point that in the book of Acts, the Lord himself draws the similarity between unclean food and unclean people, the Gentiles. We saw that from the story of Peter and the vision of the unclean animals in a sheet and how a Gentile, Cornelius, comes to Christ. In that story, there’s a correlation between unclean animals and supposedly unclean people, the Gentiles.

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In our story this morning, we again see that parallel. Mark draws the parallel in chapter 7:19 of unclean food becoming clean and now in chapter 7:24-30, Jesus is going to go to a supposedly unclean woman, a Gentile. So just like in Acts chapter 10, Mark chapter 7 also draws the parallel. Just like the point in the book of Acts is to show that God’s kingdom focus has transitioned to the Gentiles, so also here in the book Mark, the point is similar. The point is that through the life and ministry of Jesus, the focus of God’s kingdom is transitioning away from the Jews as a nation and toward the whole world, the Gentile, non-Jew world.

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In fact we have three miracle stories in a row here that are focused on non-Jews. We have the story of this Gentile woman in verses 24-30. And then in another Gentile region in verses 31-37, Jesus heals a deaf and mute man. And then the final miracle found in chapter 8:1-10 continues Jesus ministry in Gentile territory. So you can see then that there is a dramatic shift from the Jews and the Pharisees, who are merely concerned about external defilement and religiosity, to the supposedly unclean Gentiles. And the contrast between the responses of the supposedly religiously superior Pharisees and the unclean, dirty Gentiles is shocking. That irony of response is another of Mark’s points. And it’s that point that will provide us with our take home message this morning. So, I’d like to preach to you then on the “Shocking Response of Faith.” Often it’s those that we least expect that come to faith in Christ. And it’s those who we expect most to believe, that don’t. We would expect the Jewish Pharisees to believe, but they don’t. We would not expect the unclean Gentiles to believe, and they do.

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TRANS: We pick up in Mark’s gospel then in 7:24 when it says…

Mark 7:24 (NASB) Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice.

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  1. Jesus Heals the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter (7:24-30)

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The wording there that Jesus got up and went away seems to be very strong language to indicate a marked transition. We don’t know exactly where he’s going from, but the point is that there is now a transition in Mark’s account of Jesus life. Again, Jesus is going among the Gentiles to minister to them. And he goes to the region of Tyre.

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And it’s what we know about this region that makes the contrast between ministry to the Jews and ministry to the Gentiles so great. It’s almost unthinkable to the Jew that Jesus would ministry there.

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Tyre is in modern-day Lebanon. It is a Gentile region and it has a long history of antagonism to Israel. Just a couple of hundred years before this, the people in this area helped fight in a war against the Jews. And Josephus, a Jewish historian of that time period, says that the people of Tyre were [quote] “our bitterest enemies.” So, the Jews and the people of this region were notorious enemies.

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Not only that, but the contrast between Jew and Gentile is highlighted because this region was inundated with paganism and idolatry. So, it’s not exactly the most Jewish-friendly region.

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And so Jesus gets to Tyre and verse 24 says that as he enters the house, he does not want anyone to know about it, yet “he could not escape notice.” Here is yet another example of Jesus attempting to be private. One could ask “why” he doesn’t want anyone to know, but our surmising’s would likely be fruitless. It could be that he is attempting not to become a celebrity of sorts or could be as well that he merely does not want to be fully revealed yet as the Messiah. His time had not yet, in that sense. We really don’t know for sure.

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But of course, because of the nature of Jesus and his ministry, it is impossible for him to escape notice.

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So we have in verse 24 the geographical orientation of this story. And now with Jesus meeting the woman we have Jesus the Messiah building an unprecedented bridge, not only of geography, but also of gender and ethnicity.

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Mark 7:25-26 (NASB) 25 But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.

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So after Jesus enters an unspecified house, this woman hears that Jesus is there. And this woman has a little daughter who is possessed by a demon. And out of her broken spirit she comes and falls down at Jesus feet.

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In verse 26, Mark highlights the distinction between her and those Pharisees Jesus confronted in the previous story. Mark draws this distinction by making verse 26 read like a crescendo-ing list of why this woman was considered untouchable. It reads like a list of demerits because of the male Jewish elitist mindset of the day, which by the way, was not taught in Scripture.

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Notice how Mark puts it in v.26: she is a woman, not only is she a woman, but she is also a Gentile. But not only is she a woman, and not only is she a Gentile, but she is also from the infamous pagans of Syrian Phoenicia. So Mark’s point is that there could not have been a greater distinction between this supposedly unclean woman and the self-righteous Pharisees in the previous story.

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And there she is at Jesus’ feet. End of verse 26 now, she keeps on asking Jesus to cast the demons out of her daughter.

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And Jesus’ response in verse 27 seems somewhat distasteful, the way it reads to us initially. Mark 7:27 (NASB) And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

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But the next verse records the woman’s response, and she is not at all taken back by it. Mark 7:28 (NASB) But she answered and *said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.”

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This is one of the very rare occurrences when the clarity of a verse is lost in its translation. In verse 27, “children” of course has reference to the Jews. That’s not too difficult. And “bread” has reference to the spiritual food of Jesus’ ministry. And so in the first part of his statement he’s saying let the children of Israel receive my ministry first. You see the word first there, “let the children be satisfied first.”

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And by saying that, he’s indicating that, for now, his primary ministry is to the Jews…but that implies something, doesn’t it? Jesus implies there is coming a time when, after the Jews receive his ministry first, then the Gentiles will receive his ministry. As you recall, up to this point in the history of Israel, God’s people have been found in the nation of Israel. And so it makes sense that the children of Israel be fed the spiritual ministry of Jesus first, and then, as God transitions away from the Jewish nation and the Old Covenant, then Jesus can focus on the Gentiles.

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We’re okay with that. But it’s Jesus’ illustration in the latter part of verse 27 that seems to be tasteful. Here Jesus gives the reason for not healing this woman’s poor daughter, who is demon possessed. He says that it is not appropriate to take the “children’s bread” that is, the spiritual food of Jesus to the nation of Israel…. It’s not appropriate to take that spiritual food that’s meant for Israel and give it to the “dogs.”

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And it’s that word “dogs” that gives us pause. Is Jesus, by mentioning the word dog here, is he comparing her to an old street dog? Actually, what you have here is Jesus saying that it’s not appropriate to take the children’s bread and throw it to the household lap dogs or household pet dogs. The word that is used here is for the kind of dog that was given a special place inside the house and given somewhat of a privileged position. And so this dog is treated as any of the family pets would be treated. Not only that, it is considered to be a part of the household.

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So again, what Jesus is saying by this word “dog” is similar to what he meant by the word “first.” Just like when he said that the children of Israel must receive His ministry first, and what he meant by that was first the Jew gets my ministry, then the Gentile, so also here what Jesus is saying is that it’s not good to take the spiritual food that’s meant for the children of Israel and throw it to the pets in the house. But keep in mind, they are in the house! So Jesus is saying that the Gentiles are a part of God’s house, but that his primary ministry while he is on Earth is to the Jews. It’s not yet time for the Gentiles to receive the fullness of his ministry. That will happen after he ascends up into heaven.

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And the woman’s response in verse 28 indicates she is aware of the distinctions between Jew and Gentile, but not only that, she is also aware of the priority of the Jew over the Gentile in Jesus’ earthly ministry. Notice the astounding comprehension and faith of this woman.

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Mark 7:28 (NASB) But she answered and *said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.”

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So she respectfully acknowledges his position as Lord but then illustrates her desire to receive Jesus’ ministry. Just like a household pet will strongly desire to feed off of the crumbs that the kids drop, so also does the woman here want to receive a little bit of the spiritual food that the children of Israel have received.

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And by saying this, she seems to be aware that the children of Israel have thrown aside at least some of Jesus’ ministry. And because of this response, it seems she’s much more aware of the ministry of the Messiah than are the children of Israel: both the Pharisees and also the disciples themselves.

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This is highlighted even more when she uses a different word for children at the end of verse 28 then Jesus used in verse 27. When Jesus refers to the “children’s” bread at the end of verse 27, he uses the word that we think of that means “biological children.” However, the woman, at the end of verse 28, uses a much broader term for “children” that has reference to both children as well as any servants of a household. “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” That word children is much broader and it has reference to children and servants in a household.

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So she recognizes that she herself is not a Jew and does not deserve any kind of standing with God, but…at the same time… she’s also putting herself in the household of God through the use of that term for children. And not only that, but she is also pointing out that she understands that Jesus’ ministry is supposed to move on away from the “biological children of the Jews” and now is to include the “children and servants of the Gentiles.”

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And so this woman gets it! She understands the nature of Jesus’ ministry and that he is sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel first, but that in due time he will also include the Gentiles in the kingdom. And so this is the nature of this discussion. The whole nature of this discussion between this woman and Jesus has to do with Jesus’ ministry among the Gentiles. And like we pointed out, the preceding story prepared us for Jesus’ future ministry with the non-Jews.

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This small little dialogue then serves to demonstrate the transition to God’s kingdom to include Gentiles.

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But the point of application comes for us when we understand that this is the first person in the gospel of Mark to actually understand a parable of Jesus. Jesus’ speech is sometimes puzzling, but the woman comprehends Jesus’ statement and receives it by faith. She responds to Jesus, as it were, from within the parable. And so because she places herself within the parable and because she responds with the word choices that she does, we know that she is exercising faith in the person and divine ministry of Jesus the Messiah.

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But, this is totally contrary to our expectations. It is ironic that here is a woman who is from the region of the world she’s from and yet she exercises faith in Jesus. We would expect the Pharisees in the previous story to have received him, but here is a woman, a Gentile woman, a Syrophoencician Gentile woman and she exercises this astounding comprehension and faith in him.

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Sometimes, those we would least expect to receive Jesus’ work for them actually receive it and those who we would expect to receive it, in fact do not.

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And Jesus says Mark 7:29 (NASB) …, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”

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And she trusted Jesus word … Mark 7:30 (NASB) And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left.

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Jesus performed a miracle, not even having to touch or see the daughter, but performed the miracle at a distance.

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And just a brief word about the nature of her faith. Notice that, verse 26, she kept asking him, she believed that Jesus was the “Lord” v. 28. And in her response, you can see she’s quite humble, not picturing herself as even at the table of the children, but willing to feed off the crumbs. This is really a picture of savings faith: it is persistent, it’s object is Jesus as the Lord, and it is humble.

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TRANS: And Jesus is finally done with the Gentiles, right? No, he continues to minister among them in the next two stories. First of all, here in verse 31-37, he will minister to a Gentile man who is both deaf and mute.

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  1. Jesus Heals a deaf mute man (7:31-37)

Mark 7:31 (NASB) Again He went out from the region of Tyre, and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of Decapolis.

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This verse again orients us geographically. And if you look these places up on a map, you wonder why he traveled so far. You could look at the commentaries and there be a lot of surmising’s about this. One commentator even suggests that he gets lost; that he doesn’t understand the lay of the land.

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To go on this excursion in Gentile territory, first after he talks with the Pharisees in chapter 7, he departs from Capernaum, and then he goes 50 miles north and to the West to Tyre, where ministers to the woman in the previous story. Now he goes 20 miles north to Sidon and then he goes south east and crosses a river and then further south, he goes through Caesarea Philippi in order to get to the Decapolis on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. It’s a horseshoe-shaped itinerary, and it is at least 120 miles long.

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So this is no weekend getaway. Remember, there are no vehicles. 120 miles would take a while to travel. Some have suggested months. What’s Mark’s point? It’s the same point in the larger context of this passage. The point is the same point that we’ve been emphasizing this morning and that is that there is a transition in the focus of God’s kingdom. It’s transitioning from a Jewish national focus now to a Gentile focus. And Mark emphasizes this point by pointing out the distance and time it takes for Jesus to fulfill this part of his ministry. Look at Jesus; He’s spending a lot of time in Gentile country. His kingdom must also include them, too!

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And so he is in this region of Decapolis. Jesus had previously been in this same region, you recall, in Mark chapter 5 when he healed the demon possessed man from the Legion. And you recall that Jesus sent those demons into the pigs. And all the pig farmers wanted Jesus to leave their region and then he healed that man and he went about everywhere in Decapolis proclaiming what Jesus had done for him.

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And now Jesus is back in the same region and it is as if they were waiting on him. Mark 7:32 (NASB) They *brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty, and they *implored Him to lay His hand on him.

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So here many people are requesting and demanding that Jesus heal this man. This man is unable to hear and can barely speak at all. And this word here for “spoke with difficulty” is only used one other time in the whole Bible, and I would like us to turn over there. It’s found in Isaiah 35. This is important, because Mark is drawing our attention to it quite clearly. It’s only found this one other time in LXX of Isaiah.

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Keep in mind as we read this passage in Isaiah, that Jesus is ministering in the region of Tyre and Sidon. And these two cities are found in modern-day Lebanon.

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And as we turn back to Isaiah, were turning back 700 years previous to the time of Christ. If you are there, the word for speaking with difficulty in Mark’s gospel is found in the Septuagint in the word “mute” in Isaiah 35:6 (NASB) Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah.” So, “mute” here is the same Greek word in Mark 7:32.

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Let’s read now Isaiah 35:1-2 to get an understanding of the context. The context has reference to God’s glory being revealed to all the nations! And of course this is directly in keeping with our understanding of the flow of Mark’s gospel to this point.

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Isaiah 35:1-2 (NASB) 1 The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the “crow-cus” 2 It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, The majesty of our God.

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Did you catch that? Lebanon, a Gentile territory, will see the glory of the Lord!

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So by Mark using this word in Isaiah 35:6 as well as this context’s reference to Lebanon in v.2, where Jesus is at this point, Mark unmistakably points out that Isaiah 35 is at least partly fulfilled in Mark chapter 7 when Jesus heals this man who is speaking with difficulty in the region of Lebanon.

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Mark then presents Jesus as the promised one and the Lord as it concerns the coming Day of the Lord. Jesus is that Lord and it’s His glory that is revealed to this region of Lebanon.

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And now back to Mark chapter 7. Now we will see the process that Jesus took to heal the man. Mark 7:33-34 (NASB) 33 Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; 34 and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He *said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!”

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First, Jesus separated him from the crowd and when they were alone, Jesus did a number of things for him. Think of what it would be like to attempt to communicate to a deaf person without some sort of sign language. This man wouldn’t know what Jesus is saying. However Jesus touches the two places on his body that are at issue. First, Jesus puts his fingers into the man’s ears. And now the man knows little but more of what Jesus is about to do.

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Then, Jesus spits and touches the man’s tongue with his saliva. So Jesus is clearly going to loosen the man’s tongue, sort of speak. And then indicating this is from a God, verse 34, Jesus looks up to heaven and sighs deeply, then he says in Aramaic “Ephphatha,” which means “be opened.” And the man is healed, and thus the glory of the Lord is given to Lebanon as Isaiah says, Mark 7:35 (NASB) And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly.

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Just think about what all was involved in this miracle. There was some restoration of the connection between the ears and his brain, so that he could be healed. As well, there was the restoration of his ability to speak. The man could instantly speak a language he had never heard. The man was deaf and could not hear. Yet Jesus gave him speech. And likely in that day he was speaking Greek. So Jesus would have restored part of the man’s brain that is able to speak and also he gave to the man the understanding of Greek, and put that in his brain.

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It does not matter if humanity figures out how to instantly install knowledge of human language inside of a man’s brain through technology, this event in the life of this man will always be considered a miracle.

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And so after the man is healed, Jesus tells him and the crowd not to tell anyone about it.

Mark 7:36 (NASB) And He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it.

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This is the exact opposite command Jesus gave the man healed from demon possession in Mark 5. There, he told the man to go and proclaim what great things the Lord had done for him. Why the opposite command here? We’re not told. All we know is what is stated and that is … to the degree He ordered them not to speak about it, to that same degree, the more widely the crowd proclaimed it.

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Like the previous story, this story as well serves to highlight the point that God is shifting the focus of the kingdom of God to include Gentiles.

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And our final story this morning in chapter 8:1-10 is the feeding of the 4000.

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  1. Jesus Feeds the 4000

The story begins with the phrase “in those days” in chapter 8:1. This phrase links the previous two stories to this story. And so the focus of the link is where Jesus is at this point. Jesus is still among Gentiles. So we are still east of the sea of Galilee, in Gentile country.

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Mark 8:1 (NASB) In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples

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and so there is a large crowd and once again, like the feeding of the 5000, the people have nothing to eat. And here we also learn for the first time that Jesus’ disciples are with him. And they have been with him this whole time. They had seen Jesus’ miracle for the Gentile woman and her daughter. They saw him as he touched the deaf man’s ears and tongue and now they’re about to see another miracle that should be very familiar to them. Yet they don’t seem to get it.

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Let’s read Mark 8:2-5.

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Mark 8:2-5 (NASB) 2“I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 “If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.” 4 And His disciples answered Him, “Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?” 5 And He was asking them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.”

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You would think that the disciples would not be so dense and would be able to recall what had happened in the feeding of the 5000. However, it was likely at least months ago that that happened and they had seen many miraculous things since then. So very well could be that they have forgotten at this point. However, you would think at least some of them would’ve had the feeding of the 5000 in the back their mind. Mark’s point is that they are dense.

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Let’s read now to the end of the chapter.

Mark 8:6-10 (NASB) 6 And He *directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people. 7 They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. 8 And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. 9 About four thousand were there; and He sent them away. 10 And immediately He entered the boat with His disciples and came to the district of Dalmanutha.

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So Jesus here performs a very similar miracle. Last time we noted the feeding of the 5000 that this was a miracle of creation. He was able to take small amounts of food and create more from it. And as if he needed the bread and the fish to do this. He could have used nothing in order to produce this.

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So that’s the focus of the miracle. And we could have preached a whole message on these 10 verses and drawn out every detail on how they are similar to various other places of Scripture. But if we would have, we would miss the overall point of the feeding of the 4000. One way to comprehend the point is by comparing and contrasting, not all the tiny details of the differences and similarities between the feeding of the 4000 and the feeding of the 5000, but the point is discovered by noting one contrast: for whom is this miracle performed? In the feeding of the 5000, it is clearly accomplished for the Jews. In the feeding of the 4000, it is clearly accomplished on behalf of the Gentiles. So what is Mark’s point?

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Mark’s point is to show exactly what we’ve been saying all along this morning and that is just like the kingdom of God has up to this point been to almost exclusively to the Jews, now Jesus is transitioning the focus of the kingdom of God to include the Gentiles. Just as Jesus ministers among the Jews with the feeding of the 5,000, so also he ministers among the Gentiles in the feeding of the 4,000 here. The focus of God’s kingdom is shifting to the whole world. It’s the same point we’ve been emphasizing all morning.

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And this point even again is emphasized in one word in Mark chapter 8:6. Mark chapter 8:6 says, “and they ate and were satisfied.”

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And it’s that word “satisfied” that carries the significance as we put the feeding of the 4,000 in its broader context. This is the word that tells us that we should be bringing in the significance of the 2 feedings into the overall point of these stories. In the feeding of the 5000 now, we have the same word Mark 6:42 (NASB) They all ate and were satisfied,

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That word satisfied there is the same word satisfied in our passage in Mark chapter 8:6. Now if we just had that similarity, we would not necessarily conclude anything of Mark’s point. But we have one other point that helps us make the similarity. This same exact word “satisfied” is found in Mark chapter 7:27. And here, Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman are having a discussion concerning Jesus’ ministry among the Gentiles. And Jesus’ point in 7:27 is that the children of Israel should first have their fill of his spiritual ministry, and then it should go to the Gentiles. And the woman says that she wants Jesus ministry now!

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Mark 7:27 (NASB) And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first (…there’s our word…), for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

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And so Mark’s point by using the same word in all three stories is to make the point that just as the children of God in God’s house are sitting at the table and are being satisfied with Jesus spiritual food, as illustrated in the feeding of the 5,000, so also now, illustrated by the feeding of the 4000, the Gentiles are the focus of who is in God’s house sitting at the table and being satisfied.

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So in a multitude of different ways, Mark’s burden is to show that the Gentiles are included in the kingdom of God. God’s people over many centuries have been used to their little tiny group and they are about to get their world turned upside down through the ministry of Jesus and the apostles, as they reach the Gentiles for Christ.

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That’s why as Northlight Baptist Church, as we proceed to get more into our outreach program, with our kickoff service coming up in April, we need to be sensitive to God’s design for our ministry. We don’t even know what that will look like come just a few months from now. Are we ready to shift our focus from our group to more of the needs of our community?

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CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Mark 7.24-8.10

And like we said at the beginning of the message, we would not have expected these Gentiles to have responded. And it could be that from our community we might observe a great response that we do not expect. Knowing what we know of the Jews and God’s dealing with the Jews in our story in the Bible, we would not have expected Gentile people to come to faith like they did. And often it’s those people that you least expect that do come to faith and those who don’t come to faith is equally surprising. And Scripture testifies to this.

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If Bible is the truth, you would expect really smart people to come to faith. But that’s not what you have. 1 Corinthians 1:26 (NASB) For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;

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But God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise of this world.

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The vast majority of the church of Christ is made up of people who are not wise according to the flesh, that is, they are not of the intellectual elite of this world. And it’s not surprising that the intellectual elite of this world are not part of the church. If they were, who would get the glory? They would. But now as God calls out from the world those who are not of the intellectual elite, God is the one who gets the glory.

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Not only those whom you would not expect actually receive eternal life, but those that you would expect to make it and to receive eternal life, in fact, do not! Jesus says…

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Matthew 7:22 (NASB) “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

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And that’s why if you consider yourself one of God’s people, you should 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB) Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!

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This is often what young people are doing it seems when they are doubting their salvation. And this is a good thing. You should be testing yourself to see if you are in the faith or not. And if you are one who is inclined to do that, God will not disappoint you. By his grace alone, you’ll pass that test.

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If you need help with that this morning, please let me know. As a testimony now to Jesus broadening out his ministry to the Gentiles and as we’ve seen this morning in Isaiah 35 how Jesus’ glory will be further and further displayed in the Earth, let’s turn in our hymnbooks to number 51. We have sang this number before. It’s a marvelous testimony of how God has worked throughout human history and it has his eye on the end times when he comes to reign upon the earth.

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