Yesterday’s sermon took us to Gentile territory. Jesus and the disciples were in foreigner country. Christ’s ever-increasing focus was on developing disciples for their mission following His departure. We also saw a fitting preview of the gospel message that would be for all peoples—not only the Jews.
Appearing among these great themes of Mark was a needy woman. A seeming “nobody.” Matthew described her as a “Canaanite” (15:22). She was separate from God’s elect people, a stranger to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God (Eph 2:12). Yet, it was of this very person that Jesus said “your faith is great” (Matt 15:28). Her unshakeable faith in Jesus Christ led her to be persistent. Jesus granted a request she made because of her great faith in Him.
There is something more to learn from her. To mine the gem, we must chisel through some hard realities. She was living out every parent’s nightmare when she came to Christ that day. Her daughter was living a tortured life. Mom could do nothing about it. She had to stand idly by and watch the horrific suffering and heart-wrenching misery of a daughter, demon-possessed (cf. Mark 9:20). Any parent knows the greatest mental anguishes come when we cannot help our suffering children. The path the Syrophoenician woman chose challenges us as parents, even today.
Your child was not born a “Christian.” He/she was not born sinless, destined for Heaven, or even “good”—however you want to define it. The Bible teaches us that all are sinners, separate from God (Rom 3:10-18). We were born that way (Ps 51:5); our lives confirm it (Eph 2:1-3). Our children desperately need Jesus Christ. We need to lead them to Him. If we seek to be good parents; if we strive to love our children; if we wish to give them every advantage we can in this life … then we will lead them to Jesus Christ. We are failing as parents if we are not doing this. It is possible to put food on the table, play at the park, and help with homework. But if we are not evangelizing their hearts, our parenting is a sham when eternity begins.
I feel this. I know I am not a perfect parent. I realize I’ve missed opportunities. But the ends to which the Syrophoenician woman went challenge me. The salvation of my Lord encourages me. What about you? To what ends are presently exerting yourself to lead your child to Jesus Christ? Are you eliminating the hypocrisy of your life? Are you taking advantage of church opportunities? Are you praying for them on a regular basis and personally instructing them in the hope of the gospel? Let the example of the Syrophoenician woman influence your life. May you lead your child to the Christ with all urgency and faith. May we fully love our children by giving them what they need above all else—the Lord Jesus Christ.