Tuesday Aug, 18
Dealing With Demons
Read Mark 5:1-20 and Matthew 15:21-28. How do these stories help us understand how Jesus related to non-Jews? How do we understand Jesus words to the Canaanite woman? Also, what lessons should the disciples have picked up, seeing Jesus minster to those who were not part of the covenant people?
The region of the Gadarenes was on the eastern shoe of the Sea of Galilee. It was an area formerly dominated by Greece, but it had become part of the Roman province of Judaea. The man Gadara was obviously possessed, and his possession manifested itself in horrific ways. He truly needed divine aid, which he got.
That this liberation took place in Gentile territory is confirmed by the presence of the pigs. It is interesting to notice the reaction to this economic loss when the pigs drowned; the townspeople asked Jesus to leave their territory. Jesus in turn asked the healed man to stay. He was to witness to his own people about Jesus; no doubt, too, his changed life, even more than his words, would be a powerful testimony.
In the next incident, the Sidonian child was “demon-possessed and suffering terribly” (Matt. 15:22, NIV). Her mother, a Canaanite, illustrated the cultural melting pot of that region. Her Canaanite ancestors were displaced from their land when Israel inherited it under the leadership of Joshua. Here, again, we see Jesus reaching out to those who weren’t of Israel proper.
In talking to her, Jesus used somewhat harsh language, likening her people to dogs, but it tested her faith and showed her humble willingness to get the help she needed.
“The Savior is satisfied. He has tested he faith in Him. By His dealings with her. He has shown that she has been regarded as an outcast form Israel is no longer an alien, but a child in God’s household. As a child it is her privilege to share in the Father’s gifts. Christ now grants her request, and finishes the lesson to the disciples.” – Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 401.
The lesson was that, contrary to their understanding, the work of the gospel is not just for the Jews but it to go to other nations, as well.