State of the Ministry after the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. Gospel of the Kingdom preached only to Israel. Acts , 36, , , , Gospel of Grace preached predominantly to Gentiles with Jews included. Acts , , Jews are accused of murdering the Messiah. Acts , 36, , , 30, , Jesus Christ freely gave his life as payment for our sins. Acts , 1 Cor , Gal , 1 Thes Miraculous signs and healings are commonplace. Acts , 43, , , , , ,, Even apostles and faithful saints are left sick or have to take medicine for frequent ailments. Peter is the chief teacher.
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Joel , Acts , , , The teachings of Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, are the focus. Acts , , , , , , Apostles' headquarters are in Jerusalem with their ministry concentrated in Israel. I am going to read on a few more verses and want you to notice that contrast. She is, of course, not a Peter, nor a James nor a John, one of the important apostles of the Lord Jesus. She is not even a Virgin Mary or a Mary of Bethany. She is not even a disciple, that is, at the beginning of her story. She was not a priest nor a prophet. She was a poor unknown.
Administering The Children's Bread: Manual For Healing
But in spite of the fact she is a secondary character of the New Testament, she has become one of the unforgettables of the New Testament whose praise from the Lord Jesus is matched only by the praise that he gave the Roman centurion. One is a man and one is a woman. One is a man who lived in the land, another is the a woman who lived outside the land, and the two have in common one thing in addition to their praise from Jesus Christ, and that is that both were Gentiles.
It is remarkable that these two outstanding instances of faith were instances of faith on the part of Gentiles. This incident also contains a beautiful illustration of two important matters which I think are very important in the understanding of the Scriptures. When the Apostle Paul describes the ministry of the Lord Jesus in the Epistle to the Romans, in the 15th chapter, he makes the same kind of distinction.
He states that the Lord Jesus was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God — notice he was a minister of the circumcision. His ministry pertained primarily to the Jew, and he stated that it was for the truth of God. That is, to confirm the faithfulness of God in the Word, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. So the Lord Jesus came as a minister of Israel to confirm those promises that had been made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
And here, the Gentiles are the recipients of mercy, but it is after his ministry has first been directed toward the Jew. And he cites Old Testament passages in support of that. And here he is ministering before he has turned from the Jews to minister to the Gentiles.
Now the second thing that we learn from this incident which is of doctrinal significance is the proper approach to the Lord Jesus. Now in this respect there is no change. That is, the approach to the Lord is always, whether in the Old Testament or in the New, the approach of faith in the word of God. And that was just such an impressive, pithy, brief saying that the Apostle Paul cited it in two places, and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews also cited it, so that three times in the New Testament we have it cited from the Old Testament, the just shall live by faith.
And of course, the idea is expressed in many other places by others of the New Testament. The first act is a great venture which faith makes of itself upon on Jesus Christ. And that is, to have faith cast itself into the ocean of eternity upon the credit of a promise. Faith is the principle by which we are attached to God both now and forever.
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Now that is beautifully illustrated here. And in the Bible, leprosy is a type of sin. And the sin of unbelief is the fundamental sin. So just as faith is the means by which we are attached to the Lord Jesus for time and for eternity, so to fail is to have, speaking typically, the leprosy of the head. The Lord Jesus had just been speaking about the traditions of the elders.
It had been objected that disciples did not rinse their hands like they were supposed to do according to the traditions of the elders. The Lord Jesus had pointed out that there is something more important than the traditions of the elders; it is the commandment of God. And in the commandments of God it was not stated that they should rinse their hands before they ate their food.
There were certain occasions in the Old Testament in which there was to be rinsing of hands, washing of hands, washing of feet; in fact, bathing of the whole body when the priests were inaugurated or installed in their offices. But there was no Old Testament passage that said that everybody who was a Jewish man should wash their hands as they ate their food. And so he expatiated at length upon the preeminence of the word of God over the traditions of men. And then for purposes of seclusion he went off into the Land of Tyre and Sidon, Gentile territory, and illustrated by his contact with the Gentiles his disregard for unbiblical concepts of defilement.
Now Mark tells us, and he must used to complement the narrative in Matthew, that he wanted no one to know that he was there in that land, because evidently he had been busily engaged in spiritual ministry, preaching, teaching, counseling of various types, and as a result of this he was tired. And he went off into the Gentile territory of Tyre and Sidon for a rest evidently, did not want anyone to know he was there, but Mark says he could not be hidden. I think I know what he was experiencing, and I think anyone who does spiritual ministry whether he is a preacher such as I am, or a Sunday school teacher or simply an individual concerned about others who are lost and who spends time in the attempt to bring them to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, that is very trying kind of work and activity, as any of you who have done it know.
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And our Lord being a true man, apart from sin, must have known preeminently what it meant to be tired from spiritual ministry. But he could not be hidden, and evidently it was known that the great prophet from Judea was in the land, and word went out, and a woman, a Canaanite woman — called a Syro-phoenician woman, a Greek —apparently following the disciples, crying out to the Lord Jesus, came to him. And we have the beginning thereby of this great experience.
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The first request that she makes is given in verse She knows that he is a Son of David. Tradition says that her name was Jesta, and the name of her daughter Bernice. Now she evidently was in a very bad way because Scripture says that the daughter was grievously vexed with a demon. So the mother of her daughter was very much concerned and desired that the Lord Jesus was would deliver her.
Now if you read the New Testament, you will find that there is no person who has a quicker eye for the manifestation of genuine faith than the Lord Jesus. He has a very quick eye for faith. But here he does not respond. Now, I do not think that he totally disregarded her, I think that the light that the passage ultimately conveys is that he silently delighted in the manifestation of faith, but unfortunately this woman had come with the wrong approach.
Wrong approach? But our Lord Jesus answered her not a word.
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I think his heart must have leapt within him when he saw her. The one about whom he and the Father and the Holy Spirit had fought in the ages of eternity past in the council room of the triune God. But nevertheless he is silent. And the fact that he is silent to this request for mercy is most remarkable. If you ask for humility before God, she had humility. Why she was so humble she never even brought her child. Agony of soul? Why, every manifestation of the agony of soul that a person might have is seen in her words.
She has nothing to say but to spread her grief out before him, and recognizing the compassion that she knows that he has, she cries out for that compassion. She knows that he does not have to enter into the presence of the daughter, in order that she might be psychosomatically healed. I listen every Sunday morning, as you know, to these humanistic comments that come over the radio from 8 until about , in which we are encouraged to think noble thoughts.
This morning, I was told that I should think constructively and creatively and a few other things. In other words, I should tell myself how great I am, and then I would be able to pray, so be it, Lord, thank you.