JESUS HEALS A PHOENICIAN WOMAN’S DAUGHTER
HE CURES A MAN WHO IS DEAF AND SPEECHLESS
Having denounced the Pharisees for their self-serving traditions, Jesus leaves with his disciples. He heads for the regions of Tyre and Sidon in Phoenicia, many miles to the northwest.
Jesus finds a house to stay in but does not want people to know that he is there. Yet, even here he cannot escape notice. A woman of Greek descent who was born in this area finds Jesus and begins begging: “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David. My daughter is cruelly demon possessed.”—Matthew 15:22; Mark 7:26.
After a while, Jesus’ disciples urge him: “Send her away, because she keeps crying out after us.” In response, Jesus explains his reason for ignoring her: “I was not sent to anyone except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The woman does not give up, though. She approaches and falls down before Jesus, pleading: “Lord, help me!”—Matthew 15:23-25.
Apparently to test her faith, Jesus alludes to the Jews’ negative view of people of other nationalities: “It is not right to take the bread of the children and throw it to the little dogs.” (Matthew 15:26) In speaking of “little dogs,” or puppies, Jesus reveals his tender feelings toward non-Jews. His facial expression and compassionate voice must also convey those feelings.
Rather than taking offense, the woman picks up on the reference to Jewish prejudices and humbly observes: “Yes, Lord, but really the little dogs do eat of the crumbs falling from the table of their masters.” Jesus recognizes her good heart condition and says: “O woman, great is your faith; let it happen to you as you wish.” (Matthew 15:27, 28) And it does, even though the girl is not right there! When the woman returns home, she finds her daughter lying on the bed, completely healed—“the demon was gone”!—Mark 7:30.
From the region of Phoenicia, Jesus and his disciples head across the country toward the upper Jordan River. They apparently cross the Jordan somewhere north of the Sea of Galilee and go into the region of the Decapolis. There, they go up on a mountain, but the crowds find them. The people bring to Jesus their lame, maimed, blind, and speechless. They lay these sick ones at Jesus’ feet, and he cures them. Amazed, the people glorify the God of Israel.
Jesus gives special attention to one man who is deaf and has a speech problem. You can understand how he must feel in a large crowd. Perhaps noting how nervous this man is, Jesus takes him away from the crowd. When they are alone, Jesus indicates what he is going to do for him. He puts his fingers into the man’s ears and, after spitting, touches the man’s tongue. Then looking toward heaven, Jesus utters a Semitic expression that means “Be opened.” At that, the man’s hearing is restored, and he is able to speak normally. Jesus does not want this publicized, preferring that people believe in him based on what they personally see and hear.—Mark 7:32-36.
Jesus’ power to perform such cures has a deep effect on the observers, who are “astounded beyond measure.” They say: “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the speechless speak.”—Mark 7:37.