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Proving Faith

“But Jesus said to her, ‘Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.’ ” Mark 7:27

When Jesus is proving our characters and our faith to whom is he proving them?

I would suggest to you that the person that benefits the most by the demonstrating of the faith is the one that has been tested. There is a determination and a confidence that comes into a person when he or she realizes that they are equal to the challenge and there is a humility and a submittedness present when they realize just how weak and vulnerable they are in the face of the great trials that loom before them. Both the proving of strength and weakness are valuable pieces of knowledge.

In Jesus’ encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman Jesus is simultaneously demonstrating the strength of the woman and the weakness of the disciples. The primary focus of his test was the disciples and in his responses to her entreaties he is parroting the attitudes of disciples toward her class of person, which were in sharp contrast to his own loving and compassionate ones. He knew the depth of the woman’s faith and left openings for her to continue pressing her petition forward. In doing this he clearly demonstrated to both the disciples and the woman that she was not of some group of people worthy only to be ignored and neglect by those possessing the love of God. No. She is, because of her faith, part of the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

The woman noticed that Jesus had said, “Let the children be filled first…,” and seeing an opening pressed forward her request. The children might be the “first” to be fed but even the dogs hovering about the table get a small share from the food.

Ellen White, in the book The Desire of Ages, tells us that the disciples never forgot the lesson demonstrated in this single miracle performed in the region of Tyre and Sidon. They never forgot that saving faith could be found even in classes and groups of people they might ordinarily be inclined to believe are wholly distant and separated from the influence of God.

Friends, today, there are many who’ve heard whisperings about salvation and they yearn for its touch. They’ve felt the influence of the Holy Spirit leading them, guiding them, wooing them and they want to believe. Jesus may even be leading you to a place where you might see past the first impression they give and find that place, that need, that hope that’s been prepared in their hearts to receive of the grace of Jesus.

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