Refuse To Take No For An Answer

Jesus went to the district of Tyre.
He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it,
but he could not escape notice.
Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him.
She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth,
and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
He said to her, “Let the children be fed first.
For it is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied and said to him,
“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go.
The demon has gone out of your daughter.”
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed
and the demon gone.
(Mark 7:24-30)

Scripture Study

7:24 Tyre A Phoenician port on the Mediterranean Sea, northwest of Galilee.

7:26 a Syrophoenician The Greek phrase used here is used by Roman authors to distinguish the Phoenicians of Syria from those of North Africa.

7:27 Let the children be fed first Jesus is noting that Israel was first chosen to benefit from God’s rule, before people from the rest of the world. Jesus is also affirming that His mission is first to the Jewish people, although He foreshadows the inclusion of non-Jewish people (see vv. 14–23). Paul makes similar remarks (e.g., Rom 1:16; compare Isa 49:6). Throw it to the dogs Jesus is trying to evoke a response about Jewish-Gentile relations—He is likely using a common adage among Jewish people to do so.

7:28 Lord The Greek term used here, kyrios, means either “lord” or “sir”; it was a typical title for formally addressing a social superior and it seems that the woman is using the phrase in this way.

7:29 For saying this, you may go This turning point inaugurates Jesus’ mission to non-Jewish people (Mark 7:31–37).

Scripture Reflection

In this striking incident, the Syrophoenician woman turns out to be a model of Christian faith. She is not the last person who has come to Jesus with an urgent petition, only to encounter what seems to be a brick wall! But she is neither discouraged nor disheartened by the apparent setback. She simply perseveres in intrepid confidence. Somehow what she has heard about Jesus has given her a profound intuition that he cannot be indifferent to her plea. So, she refuses to take no for an answer—and her boldness is rewarded.

The clear lesson in this story is that the Lord does hear our prayers, and even his apparent refusals are meant to awaken in us a yet deeper faith, which opens us to receive the gift that he has for us. Few sayings of Jesus are recorded more often than his reassurance that what we ask in prayer with faith we will receive.

– Mary Healy


May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.