Did you know that some of the most important characters in the Bible are not given names? It’s true! Some of the people who Jesus admired most are not even named. Why do think that is? You would think that if these people were so important to Jesus that we would know their names. But nothing about Jesus is normal. Jesus delights in people who want to make Jesus look big, not themselves. He delights in people who care more about his name than their name.
After showing us that Jesus had gone into a Gentile region, Mark tells us about a Gentile woman who approached Jesus. She had probably heard about Jesus’ healing power and came to him because her daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit (v. 25). Now, this mother was grievously distraught. Such is the heart of the mother of a sick child. Her love for her daughter and her faith in Jesus led her to not just ask Jesus a question, but fall down on her face in front of him. She didn’t just ask Jesus to heal her daughter. The Bible tells us she “begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter” (v. 26).
Do you see how bold her question was? A Gentile woman, who was unclean, came to a Jewish rabbi, and asked him to heal her daughter who was possessed by a demon, which made her unclean. This Gentile woman was basically asking her enemy, a Jewish teacher, to come to one of the dirtiest places he could come. This woman has everything going against her. She is a Gentile; a woman; and has an unclean daughter. In other words, she was off-limits to a Jewish rabbi like Jesus. And do you see what she was asking? She was asking Jesus to come right in the middle of her uncleanness. She was asking Jesus to risk his reputation and go against all Jewish tradition to heal her daughter.
We are all very much like this woman. We are unclean. We are the kind of people who do not deserve to approach Jesus. But we must learn from her. Instead of hiding in our sin, we must come out in the light and fall on our faces before Jesus because he is the one who went into the darkness and dirtiness for us by dying in our place. The feet at which we fall have been stained with blood and nailed for the eternal forgiveness of our sins. Therefore, be bold in what you ask of Jesus. Trust in his power to do far more for you than you could ever hope or imagine.
Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church East Bernstadt. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their son, Jude Adoniram.