On Sunday our sermon time will focus on the events recorded in Mark 7. I encourage you to read that chapter this week in preparation! If you know someone who believes that following Jesus just about obeying a bunch of rules or doesn’t think the church will welcome them this would be a great week for you to invite them to join us.
Mark 7 often prompts a number of questions for people. I won’t be able to address two of them on Sunday, so I thought I’d do that here!
Q. – “In my Bible Mark 7:16 is missing. The passage jumps right from verse 15 to verse 17. What’s the deal with that?
Some early manuscripts of Mark contain verse 16 - “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." Older translations of the Bible, such as the King James Version include it. However, as more manuscripts were discovered there were quite a few reliable ones that did not contain the verse, and most modern translations omit it, as scholars believe that it was added later by a scribe. The phrase is used by Jesus in Mark 4:9 and Mark 4:23, so it is possible that He said it in connection to the events of Mark 7.
Q – In Mark 7:27 is seems like Jesus is calling a woman a dog. Why would He do that?
Mark 7:27 reads “And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.”
That seems harsh, but I believe Jesus is doing two things when He says this to the woman. He is probing this woman’s faith to see if she understands who He is while at the same time trying to instruct His disciples. Jesus is explaining His current ministry in a way that both the woman and the watching disciples could understand.
At this point in His ministry, His duty was to the people of Israel, not to the Gentiles (Matthew 15:24). Taking His attention from Israel, in violation of His mission, would be like a father taking food from his children in order to throw it to their pets (Matthews 15:26).
Now people understandably get hung up on the word “dog.” The exact Greek word Jesus used, was kunarion, meaning “small dog” or “pet dog.” Some have suggested that it means “puppy.” This is a completely different word from the Greek word kuon, which is used elsewhere in the New Testament to refer to hated wild dogs.
So this isn’t an insult to the woman, its more of an analogy for Jesus’ purposes on Earth. His ministry is to God’s children, which at this point consists of the Jewish people (of course, after His resurrection His ministry is to all people). The Gentiles are like a beloved member of the household, but they are not yet children. The woman is persistent, and she quickly replies:
“Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.”
Wow…this lady has a lot going for her – smarts, quick wit, humbleness and a deep faith. First, she addresses Jesus as Lord. This is the only time in Mark’s Gospel that anyone does that. Secondly, she doesn’t argue with Jesus or deny the special role that the Jews have in Jesus’ ministry. She simply points out that even the puppies are blessed at the same time as the children are! Jesus agrees with her, and He heals her daughter.
Here’s what’s happening:
1. This Sunday I will be visiting the Christian Adventure Class for a time of Q&A regarding our church vision document.
2. VBS Week will be June 11-15 this year. Please be praying about how you might be able to help.
3. Easter Flower Orders – There will be an insert in the bulletin this week to order flowers for Easter. Orders are due by March 11.
4. To answer a frequent question – Yes, we will have the choir sing on Easter! More information about this coming on Sunday!
See you on Sunday,