In this story, Jesus sends his disciples, authorizing them to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and to cast out demons. Interestingly, we also get a glimpse of how Jesus understands his mission and ministry up to this point. “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Later, in Matthew 15, a Canaanite woman, who would not have been Jewish, asks Jesus to heal her daughter. He explains that he has only come for the ’lost sheep of the house of Israel’. And yet, she argues, even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table. Jesus is convinced and heals the daughter. This seems to be the turning point in Matthew’s gospel in terms of who Jesus welcomes, heals, and feeds.
If even Jesus can change his mind about something, what does this tell us about our own certainties? Have you ever changed your mind about a long-held belief? Who or what caused that shift? Are there any beliefs you were raised with that might conflict with your values now?
Today, offer a prayer of confession for those long-held beliefs that might lead to exclusion or a failure to offer grace to someone you might view as an outsider.