By: Scott Armstrong
Reading: Mark 7:24-37
Key Verse: Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter” (Mark 7:29).
2 Kings 5 tell us Naaman was a brave soldier and influential man. As commander of the army of Aram, he traveled to Israel to be cleansed of his leprosy. He expected to lavish the prophet Elisha with gifts in exchange for his healing. But it didn’t work that way. “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored…” (5:10).
The soldier was incensed. It was embarrassing enough to have to beg for healing from the hated Israelites, but this?! The Jordan River was the dirtiest in the region! And to dip seven times was pure overkill – why couldn’t Elisha wave his hand or something, and we could get this over with?!
Naaman ended up following the instructions, and – no surprise – he was healed. Even those people and that river could bring healing.
But there’s a twist. Jewish hearers of this story would have thought the opposite: even a despised soldier of our enemy Aram was healed by God? That’s not fair! He doesn’t deserve it!
Have we ever thought the same? They’re from that country, that religion, that ethnicity
In our text, it initially appears even Jesus plays favorites. However, the audacious faith of the foreigner proves compelling. “Even though prevailing wisdom would say you are from the wrong place and therefore undeserving,” Jesus seems to say, “I would love to grant your request.”
Who would you be astonished to see receive God’s healing and salvation? Why do you think witnessing God’s grace given to someone of that “other” group is so hard to stomach? What would you like God to change in you today?