This week has been refreshing for me. I am in a DMin. class at Biblical Theological Seminary. Dr. John Leonard is leading our discussion on The Mission of God, The Mission of Christ’s Church. A class like this stirs many reflections, some deep and new, some familiar-but-forgotten. One such familiar-but-forgotten reflection is what I wanted to share with you. And it is a basic one.
In Matthew 14:30 when Peter is sinking (which the Greek language infers he may have been neck deep in the water) he cries out, “Lord save me!” Jesus hears his cry and saves him.
In Matthew 15:25 a gentile woman comes to Jesus. Her daughter is suffering in life-crushing ways. She cries out “Lord help me!” (almost identical language as Peter’s). The disciples hear her cry and urges Jesus to send her away. But he helps her any way.
Peter was shown mercy but would not show her mercy. The disciples witnessed this and somehow walked on to the shore unaffected.
When reading the gospels this week we noticed the disciples want to send more people away from Jesus than welcome to Him—the 5,000, children, the gentile woman—because they appear to consider the impoverished, the least, and the outsiders as unworthy of His time. Their lack of self-awareness and humility seems to have allowed their presuppositions of who these people were to overturn all they had seen in and heard from Jesus.
For many christians today, this hasn’t changed.
As we continued our reading through the gospels and in to the book of Acts we see the disciples maturing. As the Church learns to obey the missionary Holy Spirit, surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, and find their purpose in joining God in His work of redeeming all people for the sake of the world, they become a hospitable community. The same can happen today.
Jesus is still saving us from our selves. He is still saving us from our merciless pride and lack of compassion toward others. As long as He is invited to reign in our lives and Churches, there is hope for the Church and the world God loves—there is hope for us all.
Why do you think the disciples wanted to send these away?
What can we learn from them?