Just a Crumb
Scripture Reading — Mark 7:24-30
“Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” — Mark 7:28
Jesus traveled to an area outside of where his own people, the Jews, lived. And a woman came to him to ask for healing for her daughter.
This woman, whose little girl was possessed by an impure spirit, came to Jesus with no credentials and no sense of entitlement. She was not looking for a reward or to make a point about worthiness. She came simply as someone who needed help, and she begged Jesus for what he had to offer.
As we reflect on this story, we might well appreciate that Jesus sent no one away empty except people who were full of themselves.
This woman knew she was not privileged to be born as one of God’s chosen people, the Jews. But somehow, with the help of God’s Spirit, she knew that God cared for her and her daughter. So she had faith that Jesus could make her daughter well. She didn’t expect to have special treatment. She wasn’t asking for a full loaf of God’s sustaining blessing; she knew that just a crumb would be enough.
Are we willing to humble ourselves before Jesus and to ask for whatever he has for us? In this story it is not about privilege or degrees of holiness, but simply that people who humbly come to Jesus find that they receive and are satisfied. The impure spirit is gone!
Thanks be to you, Jesus! Accept my humble plea and come to my assistance, for I am needy, and you are the bread of life. Amen.
What’s in Your Heart?
Scripture Reading — Mark 7:1-5, 14-23
“It is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” — Mark 7:15
My mother taught me always to wash my hands before dinner. “And use soap!” she would say. She didn’t want any dirt or germs from my hands getting into my mouth while we were eating.
The Pharisees were also careful about washing their hands before eating. But in those days they didn’t know about germs; their handwashing laws had to do with spiritual holiness. So when they asked why Jesus’ disciples didn’t wash, it wasn’t about hygiene; they were looking for a way to criticize Jesus, as if to say that he and his disciples were not spiritually holy.
Jesus used this as an opportunity to teach. Spiritual impurity isn’t about what is on our hands or what goes through our digestive system, he said.
Where does spiritual impurity come from? Our spiritual impurity comes from our sinful hearts. And then Jesus listed several examples. Handwashing could not take away greed, deceit, sexual immorality, hatred, and much more.
We can try to obey all the regulations, cultural values, and expected behaviors in our society—most of which are for the good of everyone. And we can believe all the right doctrines and try to live pure lives—which can be very important. But none of that will cleanse our hearts.
Only Jesus can truly cleanse your heart.
Cleanse my heart, O God, and make me pure within. Thank you for the forgiveness and holiness that come only through Jesus. Amen.