The text this week is Matthew 9:35-10:23. This sees Jesus getting things organized. He is out and about teaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom. He is also curing and healing people. Jesus takes note of the large crowds and like any insightful person He realizes that now is the time to strike and magnify the message and reach even more people. He also realizes that there is much more of an opportunity than there are resources to meet this opportunity. So Jesus gathered His team, the twelve. These are not those whom one would expect to send out to teach others. They are simple people. Among them are fishermen, and other ordinary workers. Horrors, there is even a tax collector mixed in there! This just underlines that anyone can be called and equipped to proclaim the Good News.
Investing with Authority
Jesus as it turns out is an excellent manager of people. He recognizes that He must invest His team with authority to go out and accomplish the task. He clearly and without reservation grants them authority to cast out unclean spirits and to cure all diseases and every sickness. Then Jesus lays out the plan. Initially the crew is to stick with the Jewish communities and stay away from the Gentiles. Then they are to go about healing and cleansing and casting out demons and proclaim the Good News of God’s kingdom. He gives them instructions about how to respond to those who welcome them and those who don’t. Jesus also makes it clear that this will be a difficult set of tasks as they will be persecuted for the message they deliver.
The disciples trust that Jesus’s word is true and that what He says will come to pass. The accept the inevitable sacrifices as worth it to witness to the Truth. They accept the commission of Jesus and are willing to undertake the mission. All this strikes one as eminently practical. It is just like any manager getting their team ready to enter the marketplace. This just happens to be a market for souls.
Are We as Practical?
The takeaway is that we must be practical. We need to respond to God’s gifts of grace upon grace in an effective manner. It does not do much good to be full of passion and then go out with no plan. There are those among us who have this gift for organizing. Gather around these types and develop a plan, whatever the specific ministry. Then go forward with the authority that Christ gives all of us by virtue of our faith in Him as God’s Son.
Go forward proclaiming the Good News and healing people of the hopelessness that ails them. Offer to them an eternal relationship with a God that loves us beyond compare and who has totally forgiven us of our sins. Know that some will welcome us, some will reject us, and some may persecute us. None of this is easy, yet it is incomparably easier due to the efforts of the rag tag team Jesus first called to ministry. If this simple group raised a church up out of the dirt and took down an empire, we too can go forth and change our world, one soul at a time. So get practical, stay focused, persevere through the rejections and persecutions and boldly proclaim the Good News of Jesus the Christ. Could there be a better response to all that He has given us? Today’s message, you already know…believe then obey.
Praise Be to God