The Life of Christ - Understanding the Issues of the Heart (4) - Thursday, February 22nd

The Life of Christ - Understanding the Issues of the Heart (4) - Thursday, February 22nd

Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice. But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left. Mark 7:24-30

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

In the account of this same story in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Also, in the Gospel of Matthew’s account of Jesus sending out the twelve apostles, Jesus said, “Do not go to the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Jesus came to earth as the Messiah of Israel. Many in Israel were looking for the Messiah, but they were looking for the Messiah to come to rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. It was not understood that that the Messiah would come twice; the first time to suffer and the second time to rule.

Jesus said that he came to seek and save that which was lost. It begins with Israel and then extends to the whole world. Jesus First presents himself to Israel which is the idea of the Matthew passages above. Today’s passage is like a moment of anticipation for his suffering to culminate on the cross and the means for his seeking and saving that which was lost to be achieved and be offered to everyone (Jew and Gentile alike). At this juncture Jesus is still presenting himself to Israel, but here the shift begins. Consider these significant words from our passage, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” Jesus saw the open heart of a Gentile woman who placed her faith in him.

John 1:11-13 says, “He (Jesus) came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” Those who receive Christ by faith are those who are true children of God. It is a matter of spiritual lineage (Jesus is our Savior ) and not physical lineage (Abraham is our father).

Romans 2:28-29 says, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” The suffering Savior came to fix the hearts and lives of people. Our emphasis this week has been on the heart. Faith in Christ is all about him fixing us from the inside out so that our hearts and lives become all that he intended for the them to be in the first place. Understanding the issues of the heart is an important undertaking and makes all the difference in our response to Christ being full and sure.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, help me to seek you relentlessly and untiringly like the women in our story. Open my heart and expand my faith like never before. Like this amazing woman, may I be absolutely convinced that you and you alone have exactly what I need. I surrender to you and your work of transforming me from the inside out. You are my true spiritual reality and I bow before you in full dependence, devotion, and love. Amen!

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