Read the italicized passages of Scripture in Chapter 8.
- Think of a time when you met someone very important. How did you approach that person?
- When the Syrophoenecian woman begs Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter, he replies, “First let the children eat all they want for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” According to Timothy Keller (p. 87) what is Jesus doing and saying here?
- The woman replies, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” What is she doing and saying here (pp. 88-89)? How would you describe the way that she is approaching Jesus?
- Biblical scholar James Edwards says, “…the woman is the first person in Mark to hear and understand a parable of Jesus…. That she answers Jesus from “within” the parable, that is, in the terms by which Jesus addressed her, indicates that she is the first person in the Gospel to hear the word of Jesus to her” (p. 89). What message is God trying to communicate to us when an unclean foreigner “gets” Jesus’ message before his disciples and God’s chosen people do?
- Who are we in Jesus’ parable, the children or the puppies? Why?
- Timothy Keller makes the point that it is just as much a rejection of God’s love to refuse his mercy because your sins are so great as it is to refuse his mercy because you think you don’t need it (p. 90). What do you think?
- There are other times when a personal encounter with Jesus seems accidental. And yet Jesus still shows love and mercy. How do Jesus’ actions communicate that he identifies with the deaf and mute man? How does Jesus identify with us?
- The word Mark uses to describe “deaf and hardly talk” refers us to Isaiah 35. How does Jesus come with the divine retribution described in Isaiah 35?
- Keeping Isaiah 35 in mind, when Jesus heals the deaf and the blind, what does that indicate?
- Close by reading the last paragraph of the chapter and Isaiah 35.
1 The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
7 The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
8 And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
9 No lion will be there,
nor any ravenous beast;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
10 and those the LORD has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.