“And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.” Mark 7:24-30
What right do we have to go to Jesus for help? Not only are we, for the most part, not descended from Israel, we are poor miserable sinners undeserving of God’s grace and mercy. We have no standing of our own, no basis, to expect God’s Son to hear us or to help us!
As we see from Mark 7:24ff., that did not stop a Greek-speaking Syrophoenician woman from coming to Jesus for help and deliverance for her daughter who was demon possessed. She was a Gentile from the Phoenician part of Syria and not of the House of Israel, and Jesus was sent first to His own people; but she still came, asking not to take away what rightly was for the people of Israel but to eat of the crumbs which fall from Israel’s table.
This woman’s daughter was demon possessed, something we hear little of in our day though it likely still exists but is diagnosed with other names. It appears, in such cases, that the devil or one of his evil spirits takes control of a person’s body, often seeking to destroy both body and soul. She begged Jesus to cast out this demon and make her daughter whole again. And Jesus granted her petition. The demon was cast out and her daughter was made well.
While we may not be bodily possessed by the devil, the truth is that each and every one of us comes into this world under the control and sway of the evil one. Ever since the fall of Genesis 3, people are born into this world “dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1,2; cf. Psalm 51:5). The Bible tells us “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). And the Bible tells us that “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Only Jesus, God the Son, can free us from our spiritual bondage and reveal Himself to us as the Redeemer of the world. Only Jesus can raise us up from spiritual darkness and death and free us from the control of the devil (cf. John 8:23-24; 34-36).
We are not, for the most part, of the House of Israel. Nor are we deserving that Jesus should deliver us from our bondage to the devil. But when we humbly come to Jesus in faith, what happens? God delivers “us from the power of darkness” and translates us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).
The Bible tells us of Jesus: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Therefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:14-17). The only-begotten Son of God took on human flesh and blood that He might obey God’s law in our stead and offer up Himself as a perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins — all that we might obtain mercy and forgiveness through faith in His name.
And God “made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself” and He brought us to trust in Christ after that we “heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:9,13). “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7; cf. John 5:24-26).
God graciously called us to faith in Christ Jesus through the gospel. And, when we come to Christ in faith, believing He atoned for our sins and the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:1,2), He forgives us all our sins, delivers us from the bondage of the devil and gives us new life in Him! Jesus makes us whole.
Have mercy upon us, Lord Jesus! We are unworthy sinners deserving only of wrath and punishment, but we look to You and Your sacrificial death upon the cross for mercy and forgiveness. Amen.
[Scripture quotations from the King James Version of the Bible]