(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
11. SECOND WITHDRAWAL FROM GALILEE TO TYRE AND SIDON
(1) Jesus Heals A Syrophoenician Woman’s Daughter
Matthew records that Jesus “Leaving that place”, referring to the Galilee, withdrew to “the region of Tyre and Sidon” in Phoenicia, which is now known as Lebanon, to the northwest of Galilee . Although He desired to “keep his presence a secret” a Canaanite woman , or a Greek woman born in Syrian Phoenicia (Syrophoenician: a native of that part of Syria) came to Him “crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” , and Matthew states that since Jesus did not respond to her, His disciples urged Him to send her away, for they were incensed by her continual pleading; but Jesus finally responded, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” indicating that His present mandate was to take the gospel of the kingdom to the Jews only, but her response was simply “Lord, help me!” ; although being a Gentile she understood that her only help was in Jesus. Jesus’ next response “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs” <Matt. 15:26> suggested that the gospel that was for the Jews only should not be given to the Gentiles (referred to here as “dogs”), to which she responded that the dogs were satisfied with the crumbs that fell from the table, suggesting that she would be satisfied even with a small amount of His mercy in her situation, and because of her “great faith” Jesus granted her request, Mark records that “She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone” . Such is the reward of great faith in God, as we trust in Him for His mercy and provision for us in our time of desperation. Jesus knew that this woman was waiting for Him there in Tyre, and that His disciples needed to learn the lesson of prayer and faith; and so, like the woman of Samaria , Jesus went out of His way to bring salvation to her and her daughter ; .
12 THIRD WITHDRAWAL TO THE DECAPOLIS REGION
(1) Healing The Deaf And Dumb Man And Feeding Four Thousand
Mark records that Jesus left Tyre, journeyed north to Sidon, then south and east around the Galilee region, finally entering the Decapolis Region where two events are recorded by both Matthew and Mark. First, “Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.” , including the account by Mark where they brought a deaf and dumb man “and they begged him to place his hand on the man.” .
“People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
“He has done everything well,” was the response of the people, Matthew adding – “And they praised the God of Israel.” ; how could this be considering that this was a predominantly Gentile region? Could it have been the result of the testimony of Legion from whom Jesus, on His previous visit, had cast out many demons, instructing him to go home and tell of what the Lord had done for him? .
The second recorded event is the feeding of four thousand people, not including women and children as indicated by Matthew, the details being similar to the earlier feeding of the five thousand in Galilee – the differences here are that there were seven loaves of bread and a “few small fish”, and the collection of seven baskets of “broken pieces that were left over” ; however, the result was the same as far as the people were concerned – “They all ate and were satisfied”
And such is the work of our Lord Jesus Christ; God, His Father is satisfied with Him, and we are satisfied as well:
“Now in a song of grateful praise To Christ, the Lord, our voice we’ll raise;
With all Thy saints we’ll join to tell: Christ Jesus ‘hath done all things well’
And since our souls have known His love, What mercies has He made us prove;
Mercies which all our praise excel, For Jesus ‘hath done all things well”
(Samuel Medley 1738-1799)
(2) A Brief Visit To Magadan (Dalmanutha) – Pharisees And Sadducees Ask For A Sign
“A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.”
Magadan , or Dalmanutha , was a city on the S.W. shore of the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee), and is believed to be the home of Mary from whom Jesus had cast seven devils . Here the Pharisees join with the Sadducees, although both sects were usually in disagreements with each other, to attack Jesus Himself (previously they questioned His disciples) seeking a sign from Him – an indication that they were not convinced by His miracles which were the signs given by Moses in the Old Testament: they had already asked for a sign and Jesus had given them the sign of Jonah . Alluding to their spiritual futility, Jesus points to the fact that they can predict the weather by observing the signs in the sky at evening and sunrise, but they “cannot interpret the signs of the times” adding that they will not be given any other sign “except the sign of Jonah” .
No further sign will be given to those who seek an excuse for their unbelief! God’s final sign and message was given through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ .