Part 2: Getting Away from our Group to Experience Christ
Getting Away From it All to Experience Christ
Mark 7 to 8 unveils some very basic principles of pursuing a genuine spiritual life in Christ. They all involve a common theme—getting away from our daily routine to experience the reality of Christ. Are you ready?
In Part 1 we saw how Jesus was absolutely apart from the traditions of men. Now we will see how Jesus cuts through our tribal tendencies to stick to our own "kind."
A New Realm
In this story, Jesus really gets away from the ordinary, as He “went away into the borders of Tyre and Sidon” which is the northernmost part of the Good Land, far away from the religious center at Jerusalem. Furthermore, we read “He entered into a house, and didn’t want anyone to know it…” It was not uncommon for Jesus to seek an isolated place, either to get His apostles away from the crowd, or to spend time alone in the wilderness with His heavenly Father. Why did He go so far away? Apparently He wanted to meet someone different: “But he couldn’t escape notice. For a woman, whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, having heard of him, came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race”
Exposing our Racism
Jesus was Jewish. This was His group. All His apostles were Jewish, and they lived in Israel. This woman was very different—a Gentile. We all tend to gravitate to a group we feel comfortable with. How about you? It could be racial, ethnic, geographical, national, or based on personal interests. As Christians we also tend to find a group that fits our nature, and consider other Christian groups as somewhat foreign to us. I have found this sense of “us and them” strong among believers, even those who claim to be a “non denominated” group, which means they wish to be more inclusive. Unfortunately, even they can become exclusive and consider other believers as different---the others.
The Way to Grow Spiritually
If you want to grow spiritually, if you want to experience Christ to a greater degree, you must be willing to be enlarged and get out of your comfort zone. Jesus went far away from His disciples’ comfort zone to show them something new about God’s amazing grace. Typical Jews thought Gentiles were like “dogs” not deserving God’s favor But Jesus showed them, by answering her request, that God’s heart is much bigger than our tiny heart:
“She begged him that he would cast the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not appropriate to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
But she answered him, “Yes, Lord. Yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” He said to her, “For this saying, go your way. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”She went away to her house, and found the child having been laid on the bed, with the demon gone out.” (Mark 7:26-30)
Be enlarged this week. Reach out to someone who is “different” than you, someone who, according to your disposition and preference, would not normally be a friend of yours. And visit a “different” Christian group, with different worship, different music, with different people than you are used to. Extend yourself to the northernmost parts of your Good Land, your comfort zone, to see what wonderful grace the Lord will reveal to you.
The only way we can experience this enlargement is to know Christ within us, who alone has the ability to free us from the old man, which is just our fallen tribal self, prone to separate and divide. Christ's nature within us is the New Man, able to blend with and appreciate all people, "out of every tribe, language, people, and nation (Rev 5:9).
" For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3:27-28)
"..Put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge after the image of his Creator, where there can’t be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondservant, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all." (Col 3:9-11)
New Song: One New Man
- Hymn: One new man is the Father’s plan
Christian hymns and spiritual songs with wonderful truths and music.}