And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
1. Are you attracted to Jesus? He drew others to himself like bees to honeysuckle. They came, hungry. Not only the Jews, but also the Gentiles. Maybe even especially the Gentiles. Jesus’ own people tended toward curious skepticism. What about us?
2. What does it mean to be tested by Jesus? At first glance, Jesus’ words to the Gentile woman seem harsh. But they aren’t. Jesus came first as a Jew, to the Jews, to fulfill the Messianic promise to Israel which in turn, would open up salvation for every tribe, tongue, and nation. (Remember God’s promise to Abraham that he would be blessed to be a blessing?) But Jesus’ own people rejected him. Kicked him out of Nazareth. Dismissed him, “Isn’t this Mary’s son? The carpenter?”
Jesus’s words to the Gentile woman are an invitation to express faith. Does she truly believe that He is for her and her people? Yes, she does. And what a compliment Jesus gives her, praising her for her faith.
3. Do you get Jesus? Ironically, the spiritual reality of many who followed Jesus was the same as this deaf man. They were drawn to Jesus, listened to his teaching, but remained spiritually unhearing. They didn’t get him.
What Jesus accomplished in the physical realm–opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, raising the dead–mirrors what he accomplished in the spiritual realm. His words, “Be opened,” to this deaf man are just as much a pleading for his disciples to get him as they are a command to free this deaf man from a soundless life.
4. We are amazed by Jesus’ physical miracles, but how much more should we be amazed by his miracles of the heart? Those who saw Jesus perform miracles were astounded and said, “He has done all things well.” He has done. But did they go a step further and say, “He is all things well, good, and loving. He is Savior.” Jesus calls us not only to appreciate the works He does, but who He is. Salvation doesn’t come by admiring him. It comes through recognizing him as Lord and Savior.