After humbling the Pharisees, Jesus goes into Gentile territory in Mark 7:24-37. This time, he doesn’t come with sermons about the sinfulness of the human heart, but with tenderness and compassion. He answers the persistent request of a Gentile woman, who begged Jesus to cast the demon out of her child. He opens the ears of a deaf man and fixes his speech impediment after his friends beg Jesus to heal him. What a contrast from the previous episode! Rather than respond with rebuke, Jesus responds with healing. What’s the difference? It isn’t necessarily their different ethnicity that Mark highlights – it’s their different attitude. The Pharisees saw themselves as righteousness, but these people saw themselves as beggars.
How you see yourself will color how you see others and how you see Jesus. If we think we’re righteous because of rules we keep, we’ll find that our hearts are far from God; if we approach Christ as mere beggars, we’ll find that his heart is close to us.