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Healing For All

Mark 7:24–30 explains in great detail that Jesus was long overdue for a vacation. He had been traveling for weeks, healing the sick, and preaching to the masses.

Early one morning Jesus and a couple of his buddies got up at the crack of dawn, and hiked all day until they had crossed into foreign territory and reached the village of Tyre. There they found lodging and lay down to rest.

Before the men were completely settled, they heard a knock at the door. Jesus was inclined to stay in bed, but the knocking continued. He figured the only way to get any rest was to get up, and answer the door.

So he got up and opened the door, and there he saw a Syrophoenician woman, which is to say a woman from a different nation and religion than he, which gave him all the more reason to send her away. Nevertheless, she persisted. The woman pushed her way in, fell to Jesus’ feet and begged that he help her daughter.  

Legally and culturally speaking, Jesus owed the woman nothing, and he told her so: “You are not a part of my managed care plan! I don’t owe you any services. The chil­dren of Israel are the only people in my plan. If you want better healthcare get a job.”

The visitor was stunned.  She had heard that Jesus was kind and gentle.  She had prayed for mercy and hoped for generosity. If this office call had been about her health issue, she would have turned and left. But it wasn’t. It was about her daughter’s needs.

She screwed up her courage, and said to Jesus, “Even the domestic pets in Israel’s homes are treated better than you are treating me and my daughter. Don’t we at least deserve the crumbs from your table?”

There was a long silence. And, then, finally, a miracle occurred—Jesus saw the Syrophoenician woman and her daughter in a new light.  He saw them as human beings, as people of equal value to himself and his people, and he recognized their mutual need for a cure. So Jesus launched a new health care plan that night. It was an affordable plan that included everyone—and as a result, he and the whole family were healed.

God grant that we as a nation might come to our sense, like Jesus, and discover our common humanity and our mutual need for and right to quality, affordable health care. Amen.

Pastor Arlene

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