Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Send them away?

Canaanite woman and Jesus - Artist unknown
Canaanite woman and Jesus - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 15:21-39

TO CHEW ON: "And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, 'Send her away, for she cries out after us.'" Matthew 15:23

How awkward, to be traveling around in a foreign country and have someone—a woman no less—begin following you around, shouting stuff. The disciples can only take so much of "'Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! …'" until they urge Jesus to send this Canaanite woman away.

This isn't the only time we find the disciples suggesting Jesus dismiss someone. We've just encountered something similar when, after a long  day of preaching, the disciples tell Jesus to " 'Send the multitudes away…' " to get food (Matthew 14:15).

And a few chapters further on, the disciples rebuke parents who are bringing their children to Jesus for a blessing (Matthew 19:13).

But how does Jesus react to these potential irritants and interruptions?

He doesn't let the Canaanite woman's irritating cry get to Him. Instead, He starts up a conversation, probes her faith and then sends her home to a miracle (Matthew 15:24-28).

He doesn't ignore the need of the hungry crowd, but feeds them.

He doesn't send away those parents and their children, but blesses them and rebukes the disciples.

We too may be tempted to "send her away," "send the multitudes away" when people:

  • embarrass us—the awkward, unusual, mentally challenged, people who dress differently, act inappropriately, those looked down on by society.
  • have big needs we can't possibly meet.
  • threaten to mess with our tidy plans and agendas—children, high-maintenance, woman-at-the-well types.

Let's be alert to times when our first impulse would be to "send them away." At such times, let's pause, send up a silent "What do you want me to do in this situation, Jesus?" listen for His answer, and then do it.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, on my own I'm smart to send needy, hurting people away because I can't do anything for them. But I have You and You can. Help me to bring such people and situations to You. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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