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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Be opened

From there (Jesus) 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, 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.” 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.

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. 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.” ~ Mark 7:24-37

There's a lot to be said about Jesus' encounter with this Syrophoenician woman. She is an outsider. He seems to insult her. She is bold and brave and responds to his insult wisely. She is the last person you'd expect him to help, but, after his initial disinterest, he does heal her daughter.

His encounter with her changes something significant in his ministry. She is the first Gentile he has expanded his ministry toward. His apparent insult to her had to do with the fact that his call was first to the Jewish people. But this strong, determined woman changed his mind.

And so the very next healing he did was to another Gentile and the words he used to heal him "Be opened" might have had a very significant ring for him. He had been opened and now he was ready to open the world well beyond the vision that everyone expected of him.

Gracious God, open me up to the possibilities of service that you put before me. Amen

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