As I read through Matthew 15 yesterday, I discovered something that I had never quite noticed before.
Matthew’s Gospel proclaims God’s gift of the Messiah to the people of Israel – the people whom God claimed in an irrevocable covenant with Abraham in Genesis. In Matthew’s narrative, Jesus expresses His mission to reach and reclaim the lost sheep of Israel. In Matthew 10, Jesus commissions the disciples to go to those lost people, aching for the long-awaited Messiah, and tell them that the Messiah has come and that He is ushering in God’s reign.
In Matthew 28, there is another commissioning – the crucified and risen Lord Jesus again sends the disciples to make disciples – but now, their mission field is all people, all nations.
Where does the shift from “the House of Israel” to all people emerge?
In Matthew 15…when a Canaanite woman (translate that “outsider”) begs Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus’ initial response to her seems cold and uncaring – he has his hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24 The Message). He tells the woman, “It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to the dogs.” (Matthew 15:26 MSG)
But she won’t give up…she wants a taste of God’s reign of healing and fullness of life for her tormented daughter, and so she quickly replies, “You’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table.”
Jesus, even the scraps of your grace and power will be enough!
At this expression of longing and faith, Jesus gives in. “Oh, woman, your faith is something else What you want is what you get.” (Matthew 15:28 MSG) And her daughter was made well.
This encounter between Jesus and the Canaanite woman is the pivot point – when mission to the lost sheep of Israel broadens its target to all people.
The reign of God, with its amazing grace, freeing forgiveness, and undying hope is meant for the whole world – not just for those of us born into households of faith. SEND North America’s mission is to shape young disciples of Jesus who believe and will be bold in proclaiming that even a taste of God’s reign will eternally change lives – not just a chosen few, but ALL nations, ALL people!
Have you experienced a crumb of God’s amazing grace that has changed your life?
Is God opening your heart and mind to a bigger picture – a broader focus to your mission ?
Please share your story with other SEND North America prayer warriors, by leaving a reply at the close of this post.
Let us pray for our SEND North America ministry and for ALL whom God is preparing us to reach through it:
- Thank God for the many opportunities our SEND leader Josh, Dr. Hunter, Tracee and other CDM associates have been given and claimed to share the vision of SEND North America with potential participants, community leaders, and churches.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal people of peace for this ministry – people whose hearts are open to consider joining, prayerfully upholding, and financially supporting SEND North America.
- Pray for those young people joining the SEND unit this fall – that housing, employment, and other needs they have as they relocate will be fulfilled by God’s generous provision.
- Pray that Jesus’ offer of peace and healing will comfort those in distress, especially those in grief over the storm-related deaths at the Indiana State Fair, all those known to us, and those known only to our Heavenly Father.
Pray, knowing it all depends on God, and work as if it all depends on you+