“From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice,. . . “ (Mark 7:24)
I can imagine, across time and geography, the excited exclamation, “Jesus is here”. And the people come out running to see Jesus and to prevail upon him for the healing and miracles he has done. And hopefully to hear him speak.
“ . . . but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” (Verses 25 – 27)
A hymn I am very familiar with says, “In Christ there is no east or west”. The Jesus I know, fear, love and worship would not have turned away and refused to heal the little girl. Remember that the writer of the gospel of Mark said that Jesus did not escape notice which I take to mean that there were many people watching and listening to what he did and said. Because he knew this was a strong woman, sure and confident, he knew that she would play out the role of co-teacher unbeknownst to her.
“But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go–the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.” (Verses 28 – 30)
This was simply a day for Jesus; welcoming all who came to him and professed faith in His Identity and Abilities. Through the disciples, and in this case the author of the gospel of Mark, we see the blessings and restoration that He brings.
“Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.” (Verses 31 – 35)
Let me explain to you, beloved reader, according to my understanding why Jesus healed this man in private. The Gentile woman was strong and sure in herself, sure and strong in the power of Jesus, and confident that she was also worthy of his blessing and restoration on behalf of her daughter. The deaf man, however, probably did not want to be prominently featured. Read carefully that this man did not come on his own but was brought. He did not seek out Jesus for himself but was presented to Jesus because of the compassion of those around him. Or, to test Jesus. Either way, his transformation and healing was not for public fodder.
“Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” (Verses 36 – 37)
If we were to hear through the social media that Jesus was here, would we/you believe it? Would you be afraid or joyful? Would thoughts of the Second Coming and the unprepared of yourself or the world be foremost on your mind? Or would you rejoice that Jesus had come and would heal & restore all things? Would you be brave enough to meet Jesus in public? Or would you ask for a private audience? I leave you to consider these questions. Shalom and Selah.