Hello. Dave here again. Today on our Foundations daily podcast we’re looking at Mark 7:24-37. In this passage we see Jesus continue to rack up the miracles. The book of Mark really is jam packed with amazing stories that make us stop and re-read them. There’s no way of reading this book and deciding to stay on the fence about Jesus. The book of Mark demands a response from us as Jesus is clearly either someone truly unique, mind blowing and life changing in every way, or, well, it’s all complete nonsense. There can’t be a middle ground!
After Jesus performs two more miracles in towns to the north of the Sea of Galilee, we get to verses 36-37 where we read the following: Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
I am a big fan of the Alpha course. A place where people can come and explore faith. Ask their questions without fear of being laughed at or patronised. People from all walks of life, people that know God, people that don’t, all going on a journey together in search of answers to the big questions that only God can answer. Why am I here? Is there more to life than this? If Jesus is real and the Bible is true then what does that mean for me? We’ve seen loads of Alphas happen at STC over the last six months. Alphas with over 50s. Alpha with students on campus.
I’ve been involved with two of those Alphas. Usually what happens is people come along for the 8 or 9 weeks and by the grace of God, somewhere around week 6 or 7 people start to respond to God. But not this time. At these two Alphas something amazing happened. At each one there was someone who came to Alpha, came to Sunday Church, and by week 2 or 3 had said yes to following Jesus. How incredible is that?! Other people became Christians as well over the course of the sessions, praise God. I was lucky enough to be in the room just a few weeks ago when two people committed to following Jesus, a wonderful, beautiful moment. But the ones that responded at the start of the course highlight something important. You see, they had a massive effect on their discussion groups. People were able to see up close and personal what it looks like when someone encounters Jesus. When we meet Jesus we cannot remain the same. In the passage the people couldn’t remain quiet once they’d met Him.
Encountering Jesus demands a response. We have to choose which way we will run. Will we run towards Him or away from Him? This is a choice that we all make throughout our walk of faith. Sometimes we dip our toe into the idea of faith or a particular area of Jesus’ teaching and we back off, scared. That’s not unreasonable. The unconditional grace and love that He offers can be overwhelming sometimes. The freedom that comes through His Spirit can be so other to us. Surrendering control to Him can be scary at first. And then the next time as well! And let’s face it, some of the miracles in the Bible are just so far beyond our perception of reality that they still sound weird, even if we have grown up hearing about them most of our lives.
The extraordinary life of Jesus necessitates a response from us. Let’s affirm our decision to run towards Him today.
Jesus thank you that you bring so much life and freedom to us each day. Thank you for your Spirit at work in our lives. Help us to run towards you, to press into what you have for each of us. Come Holy Spirit and fill us afresh today. Amen.
READING: Mark 7:24-37
Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
‘First let the children eat all they want,’ he told her, ‘for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.’
‘Lord,’ she replied, ‘even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’
Then he told her, ‘For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.’
She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.
After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spat and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (which means ‘Be opened!’). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosed and he began to speak plainly.
Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. ‘He has done everything well,’ they said. ‘He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.’