Read Mark 7:24 – 37
Jesus Reaches out to all the World
Jesus lived in a world, similar to ours, in that it was both connected but
deeply divided. It was connected by the ‘pax Romana’ of the Roman
Empire. Rome had brutally conquered vast swathes of the known world.
It enforced ‘peace’ by oppression and the autocracy of an Emperor. It was
an empire, however, that was also internally riven with racial, cultural,
economic and religious divides: Jews, Gentiles, pagans, rich, poor, slave,
free, barbarian and ‘civilised’ (eg. Is our world much different? We are
deeply connected by globalisation (as revealed in the coronavirus
pandemic). Yet we are divided also, with fear of the other (“xenophobia –
from two Greek words: xenos = other and phobia = fear), fear of those
who are different. Barriers go up. ‘Tribalism’ re-emerges. Suspicion and
protectionism rise. Into such worlds comes Jesus, with a message about a
Kingdom for all the world. Into that world Jesus expands His influence.
There are to be no barriers in that Kingdom.
For Consideration and Discussion
• When you think about our society and our wider world, what are some
of the damaging, dangerous or threatening divisions that you see?
• Are there particular ‘others’ that you find it hard to deal with or whom
you actually fear? What groups in our society might see you as
‘other’? If so, why?
• What are the reasons, do you think, for Mark including these two stories
in his gospel narrative about Jesus?
• How do you react to Jesus’ response to the Greek woman in verse
• What do you learn from her reply that is relevant to you?
• Read the story in verses 31 – 37. What does it have in common with the
first story and what is different? What do these stories reveal about
how Jesus saw people?
• What lessons do you take from these two stories?
• Share your reaction to this statement: “We are the ‘other’ to
someone. But we are never the ‘other’ to Jesus.”
The Spreading Impact of Jesus
Read Mark 7:24 – 37