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A Synopsis of Paper 156: The Sojourn at Tyre and Sidon

Jesus and the apostles spent two and a half weeks in Sidon. A woman, Norana, hearing that Jesus was near, brought her daughter to be healed. The apostles explained that the Master was resting and could not be disturbed, but Norana refused to leave.

Finally Simon Zelotes chastised her, saying, "Woman, you are a Greek-speaking gentile. It is not right that you should expect the Master to take the bread intended for the children of the favored household and cast it to the dogs." Norana replied, "I am only a dog in the eyes of the Jews, but as concerns your Master, I am a believing dog." As they exchanged words, Norana's daughter went into convulsions.

Norana pleaded with Simon, saying, "If our need does not impress you, it would appeal to your Master, who I have been told loves all men and dares even to heal the gentiles when they believe. You are not worthy to be his disciples. I will not go until my child has been cured."

Jesus, hearing this conversation, went outside and said, "O woman, great is your faith, so great that I cannot withhold that which you desire; go your way in peace. Your daughter already has been made whole."

Jesus used this woman's faith to demonstrate to the apostles that even gentiles could acquire faith. His lesson was driven home during the next few weeks by the great success the preachers had in winning converts among the gentile population. Many non-Jews grasped the fact that not only was Jesus like God, but that God was like Jesus.

In Sidon, Jesus' instructions centered on spiritual progression. He declared that we must either go forward in righteousness or retrogress into sin; that we must not only cease to do evil but must actively learn to do right.

In Tyre, Jesus used a parable about a foolish carpenter to admonish men not to waste time measuring and smoothing rotten wood that later will be rejected as unfit for use. He warned against supplanting one desire for another by sheer will power; saying that we should develop a love for higher conduct so as to be delivered from temptation through spiritual transformation rather than through suppression of mortal desires.

Jesus asked his followers to love people who were not easy to love because those are the  people have who have the greatest need for love. He also advised them to step aside from the rush of life to refresh and renew their spirits in worship.

While Jesus was away from Galilee, opposition to his teachings subsided. The mandate to shun him from the synagogues backfired; local resentment began to build against the Pharisees and Sanhedrin. Even Herod Antipas had a change of heart. He sent word that although he had signed a warrant for the arrest of Jesus in Galilee, no such order was in effect in Perea. The Master, free to travel outside of Galilee, made plans to sojourn near Caesarea-Philippi.

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