For this morning, we’re concerned with the eighth chapter of Mark verses 1 through 10.
Now in the passage before us, we are really looking at the last recorded event in that several month period in which Jesus takes His Twelve into the Gentile nations that surround Galilee. He first made that move in chapter 7 verse 24 when Jesus gathered the Twelve and went to the region of Tyre. That would be a city on the Mediterranean coast north and west of Galilee, Israel, in the area called Syrophoenicia, ancient Phoenicia had been annexed to Syria to the east and it was now one great Syrophoenician Empire. It actually extended all the way east and all the way down south, a southern eastern portion of the Galilee region was also under the control of Syria. So this is Gentile area. Our Lord takes the disciples into a several month foray into that area. There’s really only just a couple of incidents that are recorded, verses 24 to 30 of chapter 7 tell about a woman who had a daughter with a demon and she lived in Tyre and the Lord delivered that daughter from the demon and the woman exercised saving faith which in Matthew’s account of that Jesus called mega-faith, great faith.
And then we find, having left that city of Tyre, went to Sidon and He crossed the north, the mountains of Lebanon, and headed east, all the time we have no record of teaching, preaching, healing. This is time for intensive training of the Twelve. What’s the theme of the training? It should be pretty obvious. He’s getting them ready for the Great Commission. What is the Great Commission? Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. They need to understand that salvation is for the Gentiles, that it’s for the world. You can’t just drop that on them in the Great Commission because they’ve been raised in Israel and Israel’s belief was that the Gentile are outside the Covenant, outside the compassion of God, outside the salvation purpose of God and Israel alone is the nation which God has favored. And that’s what they’ve been taught. That’s what they’ve been trained to believe, that Israel is the beginning and end of God’s purpose. Our Lord is showing them by the faith of that Gentile woman in Tyre set against the unbelief of the leaders of Israel and most of the people of Galilee who had heard and seen Jesus, that Gentiles are going to be incorporated in salvation. And so I think that was the teaching theme as He moved through the Gentile areas cause everywhere they went, they would be aware of the fact they were not in the land of Israel...
Grace to You
John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry... gty.org