Jesus At His Low Point In Ministry
One of the great things about my faith is Jesus. A lot of times we make Jesus only to be God and forget his humanity. Yet, it is his humanity that we connect so deeply with. For me, I connect with Jesus when he is at his worst. I have had days where I don’t feel like I am communicating all that well. That despite my best efforts of moving forwards I feel like I am and still steps behind. I may even feel a bit lost.
In the Gospel According to Mark chapter seven, I feel like Jesus, and I can relate. Jesus has been trying to show the people who he is through various signs and actions. Yet, they are not picking up what he is putting down. Even the leaders in his community are not figuring out who Jesus believes he is plainly saying and doing. So he blows up at the leaders and calls them out on their crap and leaves.
Jesus goes to the territory of his people’s ancient enemies and believes he can just disappear for a while. You know go off the grid. However, a woman finds him. A woman who shouldn’t know or care who Jesus is yet knows him seemingly better than his own people, and that is why she has come to him.
The woman’s daughter is possessed by evil spirits. No matter what you may believe is “actually” happening with this woman’s daughter the point is that she is out of options and knows that based on who Jesus is, he can help her daughter. Jesus, however, is in a pouty mood. Remember he is wanting to be left alone to wallow in his perceived failure. This woman continually asks him to heal her daughter, and he tells her no. Jesus using his mastery over words explains to this woman that he is not here for the Gentiles but for the Jewish people, but in a metaphorical and jerkish way. Most of the time when Jesus uses his fancy language or even parables nobody follows what he is saying. Even the disciples usually have to be sat down and explained what he means. But this woman is the first one to pick up what Jesus is putting down. Not only that she responds in a metaphorical way tracking with Jesus.
Needless to say, this blows Jesus away.
This moment makes Jesus rethink his mission and reinvigorates him. It is easy to say that this moment with the woman who society at the time would least expect to make an impact on the story of God, changes how Jesus sees himself and changes how he goes about doing ministry.
What does this tell me? Jesus was human and those pity parties I sometimes throw myself are true human emotions. Emotions are good things God has given us. It is also good to take a step back when things are going the way they are meant to and reflect on why things are working out. Finally, be open to outside voices and change. Jesus had to be open to listening to that woman. Now the key to this part is the woman was reminding Jesus who he is. She was not trying to decide something crazy form him. Sometimes we humans need to be reminded who we are because in the chaos of life we can quickly forget that. Finally, Jesus started to change his plan after encountering the woman in Tyre. It could be our best-laid plans have to be adaptable.
Knowing Jesus helps me to know me a little better. I hope that encountering Jesus does the same for you.