“Send Them Away”

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?

About Fred

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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