Thought For The Week 15 October
I have been asked to prepare a piece for the Illustrated Gospel Project looking at the story of Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7. It’s an unusual story. A woman finds out where Jesus is staying and comes begging Jesus for help. His first move is to turn her away with an insult: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
This is not the Jesus we know. We know a man of generosity and love. We know the son of God who came as saviour for all the earth.
And yet, the significance of this story is not in Jesus’ initial reaction. The significance of this story is in what it foreshadows. This woman is not like the others who came to Jesus looking for Messiah. She is a Greek. A foreigner. An outsider. A woman. A gentile. In her obdurate faith she is willing to do whatever it takes to free her daughter from her oppression. Through her belligerent faith, a door is opened to a new understanding of Jesus’ mission on earth. In this nameless stranger the first trickle of light is opened for the outsiders to be welcomed into God’s kingdom of love and salvation.
In this nameless woman’s faith, the first seeds of our own faith are sown in Jesus’ life. We may not know her name, but we owe her a position of honour in our own story of faith.