Faith and Grace

Sunday’s Scripture – September 5, 2021

Mark 7:24-37

 

Reflection

The gospel of Mark is the shortest gospel. Scholars also think it is the earliest. Evidently, Mark was in a hurry to share the good news about Jesus. As you read through the gospel, you can hear Mark’s urgency. He uses the word “immediately” about forty times, and he doesn’t even bother to include the story of Jesus’s birth.

This is not because Mark thinks Jesus’s birth insignificant, but because he presents Jesus as servant. And the birth of a servant never makes the news. Servants just get to work.

Servants are also supposed to be inconspicuous. They don’t seek attention, so Jesus constantly slips away, heals in secret, and orders people not to tell anyone about him.

But for Mark, Jesus is not just any servant. He’s the Messiah-Servant. So he gets to work, but his work is supernatural in nature, divine in power. That’s what grace is: God’s divine work in a human life.

In Mark 7:24-37, there are two instances of Jesus, by God’s grace, miraculously healing two Gentiles in response to their great faith. First, Jesus casts out an unclean spirit from a Syrophoenician woman’s daughter. Then he heals the hearing and speech of a deaf and mute man.

If grace is God’s work, then faith is ours. But here’s the secret of faith: even our faith is made possible by God’s grace. So even when Jesus seems to want to deny the Syrophoenecian woman’s daughter healing, we know it’s his grace that gave it to her in the first place. Why would he provide faith to gentiles he didn’t care to heal?

Mark is writing to a gentile audience, communicating that this Servant-Messiah is not just for the Jews, but for all. And thank God, for we are the gentiles.

Like a good servant, Jesus does all the work, even for our faith. But since this servant is also The Messiah, it’s work we must submit to. It’s a faith we must receive. And May we proclaim along with those in Mark 7:37, “He has done everything well!”

Questions

  • What work is God trying to do in you that you need to submit to?
  • What faith have you received from God? Thank Him for it and ask for more.
  • When was the last time you told God he has done everything well? Take a moment to do it now.

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