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Lenten Devotional: Mar 15

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Today’s texts: Genesis 49:1-28; 1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1; Mark 7:24-37

Mark 7:24-37

The two healings in our text today lead me to think about the revival of Christianity stretching not only across the global South but also in inland China. What is drawing people to faith in Christ is not only their receiving physical healings (in regions where medical care is often inaccessible), but also their finding freedom from oppressions of various sorts (often understood in spiritual terms as related to the activity of evil spirits). In the case of the Syro-Phoenician woman’s daughter, Jesus healed her by exorcising the demon that was oppressing her.

I also wonder in light of Jesus’ exchange with this woman about the fact that the good news of freedom in him seems to have been an afterthought, at best like crumbs from a table are gobbled up by dogs below. This seems to be confirmed by the fact that the gospel went West first, rather than Paul or other apostles having trekked to China instead. Yet, the woman insisted that regardless of what may have been intended, liberty in Christ was and would be theirs. This woman’s reception of Christ makes me think of how millions of Chinese today are responding to the gospel. Perhaps there have been “seeds of the Logos” deeply rooted in Chinese culture that is pointing the way just as the revelation to the ancient Israelites also anticipated Christ. And Chinese in China and across the Chinese diaspora are responding now just as did the people who witnessed the healings of Jesus: they are overwhelmed with amazement and cannot keep from talking about it

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Amos Yong

Dr. Amos Yong is J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology and Director of PhD Program in Renewal Studies at Regent University School of Divinity in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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