28 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.” 29 “Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.”30 And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone. — Mark 7:28-30 NLT
Hearing the words that Jesus had just spoken to her, it would have been understandable if this woman would have just crawled out of the room and left without receiving anything from Jesus. But instead she suffered the humiliation and showed great humility by humbling herself before Jesus. She told Jesus, I am not asking for the best, your leftovers will be more than sufficient to fulfill my needs. Because of her humble response, Jesus answered her request and healed her daughter. Is there a request in our lives that Jesus hasn’t fulfilled? Is it possible that our “unanswered” prayers only appear to be unanswered because we refuse to humble ourselves before the Lord? Is it possible that God can’t say “yes” because we refuse to say “yes” to His request? Is it possible that we will only accept our preconceived notion as the answer and we miss what God is trying to do in our lives? In this instance, Jesus first said “no” (which is an answer) but then because of her humbleness and persistence, He said “yes”. God always answers every prayer, just because we don’t like the answer doesn’t mean He didn’t hear and answer us. We need to be like the Phoenician woman, we need to be persistent but humble. If we give God a good answer, He will give us a good answer.
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:6, 7 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
17 The Father loves me because I give my life so that I can take it back again. 18 No one takes it away from me; I give my own life freely. I have the right to give my life, and I have the right to take it back. This is what my Father commanded me to do.” 19 Again the Jews did not agree with each other because of these words of Jesus. 20 Many of them said, “A demon has come into him and made him crazy. Why listen to him?” 21 But others said, “A man who is crazy with a demon does not say things like this. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” —John 10:17-21 (NCV)
The decision for Jesus to be the perfect Lamb sacrificed for our redemption was made long before the world was spoken into existence. 18 You know that in the past you were living in a worthless way, a way passed down from the people who lived before you. But you were saved from that useless life. You were bought, not with something that ruins like gold or silver, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, who was like a pure and perfect lamb. 20 Christ was chosen before the world was made, but he was shown to the world in these last times for your sake. —1 Peter 1:18-20 (NCV)
Jesus the human did not want to die on the cross any more than you or I would want to die such a cruel death. But Jesus as the second Person of the Trinity knew from time immemorial that He was going to do just that. Since Jesus was the Word and the Word was with God, Jesus was there when the decision was made and was in full agreement with the plan. So, He could truthfully say that He had the right to give His life and to take it back. Taking His life back was a reference to His resurrection that the Jews did not understand at that time. Being spiritually blind, they thought Jesus must be crazy or demon possessed. Before we accepted Jesus, we had no understanding of what Jesus was doing and why He was doing it. But, now that we know, it is our responsibility to carry the Good News to others. The New Year has begun, wouldn’t it be great if all of our friends and neighbors could begin a New Life by accepting Jesus? Let us freely give our time in spreading the Gospel so that others may have life eternal.
48 The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?” 49 “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father — and you dishonor me. 50 And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God wants to glorify me. Let him be the judge. 51 I assure you, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!” 52 The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say that those who obey your teaching will never die! 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Are you greater than the prophets, who died? Who do you think you are?”—John 8: 48-53 (NLT)
Now the people are really getting upset! They even tell Jesus that He is demon possessed. Jesus assures them that He is not demon possessed and that He is here to honor His Father. He also tells them that if anyone accepts His teachings as truth, they will never die. This gets the crowd in a bigger uproar! How can you say that those who obey you will never die? “Who do you think you are?” Who is this man Jesus? It is the same question that all of us must answer, “Who do you think Jesus is?” The answer to that question will determine where you spend eternity. Consider it carefully. My prayer is that you will come to know Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord. If you do, it will be the best Christmas you have ever celebrated. Even the angels in heaven will join in and throw a party. 8-10 “Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.”—Luke 15:8-10 (The Message)
20 The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?” 21 Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed.22 But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) 23 For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? 24 Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”—John 7:20-24 (NLT)
Doesn’t the crowd in Jerusalem that day kind of remind us of ourselves? Aren’t we always pointing fingers at others and trying to justify why and when we do what we do? Jesus pointed out some of the things that they and their ancestors had done on the Sabbath. Under the law, if the eighth day after birth occurred on the Sabbath, you would have to violate Moses’ law by working on the Sabbath or not circumcising the male child on the correct day. That is why Jesus said: 27 Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”–Mark 2:27,28 (NLT)
Jesus asks them to look beneath the surface, in other words, look into the situation and determine why the person is doing what they are doing on the Sabbath or any other time. Jesus has set us free from the law and now we live under grace. If we are led by the Holy Spirit, our conscience will determine if our actions are right or wrong. No law is required.