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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

“Whoever is Not Against Us is For Us”

Mark 7:24-30

This text shows the humanity of Jesus.  Often people seem to have greater difficulty in thinking of Jesus’ full humanity than they do of his full divinity.  Jesus’ being God is totally beyond what we can imagine.  We can accept the fact that there is much about Jesus’ divine nature that we can never fully comprehend.

However we know what it is to be human (or at least we think we do).  Human nature is full of uncertainties, contradictions, weaknesses, faulty assumptions and, beyond all that, we are sinful.

Now we know clearly that Jesus is without sin (Heb. 4:15).  However to say that Jesus is sinless is not the same as saying that Jesus has no weaknesses.   Nor is it to say that the human Jesus never made mistakes.  A mistake is not necessarily a sin.  Mistakes can be made as a result of a missed perception or an incorrect calculation.  Being weak is not the same as being sinful.  Jesus clearly experienced weakness as we see in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-36).  He experienced all the limits of human life.  He became hungry (Matt, 4:1-2).  He was tired (Matt. 8:20).  Jesus doesn’t know who touched his cloak (Mark 5:30).  For that matter Jesus of Nazareth knew nothing of America, space travel or advanced physics. He was fully human.  He had the same limitations of all other humans.

We see those limitations here.  Jesus is confronted with a Gentile woman who asks him to cure her little girl.  Jesus had provided healing at the requests of Gentiles earlier (Matt. 8:5-13).  Here however he sees his mission as going to Israel before going to the Gentiles (Matt. 10:5-6).  Jesus has doubts (He certainly had doubts in Gethsemane).  He hesitates.  He stresses the priority of his ministry to Israel.

He says that the children should be fed first.  Their food should not be given to the dogs (an insulting term for Gentiles).  The woman challenges him.  In effect she is calling him to his larger mission of saving the world.  She replies that the dogs under the table eat the crumbs which fall from the children.   This ends Jesus’ rejection.  He sees the woman’s faith and proceeds to cure her child (Matt. 15:28).

Jesus is human, not super-human.  He had all the limitations we have.  However to be limited is not the same as being sinful.  We can take encouragement from the fact that even Jesus could make a mistake.

Faithful and loving God I thank you that Jesus faced all the limitations, doubts and uncertainties that we face.  He struggled against the same temptations.  Yet he never sinned. Knowing his example may I not become disheartened when I face limitations.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.