Things Better Left a Mystery
And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” – Mark 7:24-37
I should have left well-enough alone. I thought I had it figured out. I thought I could do it. I had watched a number of YouTube videos. It seemed pretty straight forward. Emphasis on seemed. The first foray seemed to have succeeded. Emphasis, again on seemed. But that victory was fleeting. I was too clever by half. Sadly, however when you multiply that times two, it becomes too clever by a fourth! Not clever at all.
There are two dangers in trying to figure out Jesus, to put him in a neat and tidy, understandable and predictable box. First is, he won’t fit! Jesus is Lord, and that means he sets all the rules. And while he will not deny his true nature, nor abandon his promises, his ways are mysterious. Who would ever have thought that God would take on human flesh in the first place? Who would have ever thought that God in the flesh would submit himself to death? Jesus breaks out of any box that would contain the majestic glory of his grace. He will set the limits and boundaries of how he will act in any situation (cf. Romans 9:15).
We must also reject the notion that by understanding God’s ways, or being able to predict his next move (another way of figuring out Jesus), we will find peace. It just isn’t so. God warns us of this.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
– Proverbs 3:5 [emphasis added]
Whatever else you might say, the woman who is begging Jesus to help her daughter is not wise in her own eyes. She makes no claim of her own superiority and worthiness. She won’t demand Jesus’ help. But in his gracious kindness Jesus responds to her need. She finds her daughter at home and in bed, the demon gone.