True grit

Mark 7:24-37; James 2:1-10 (Matthew 15:21-28)

When I was in first grade, teachers assigned students to reading groups based on how well they could read. They would name all the groups after birds so that everyone would feel equal, but you could always tell how well you were doing by what bird your group was named after. There were the Eagles, the Robins and the Pigeons. The Pigeons were not reading War and Peace.

Ken Bailey gives a wonderful treatment of Mark’s story about Jesus’ encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman in his comment on the parallel passage in Matthew. To grasp the point, Bailey says, it is helpful to think of it as a kind of test that is being given simultaneously to two sets of people, the woman and the disciples. Watch who ends up in the Pigeons group.


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