In The Word
Read: Matthew 9:35-10:23
35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness.
36 Seeing the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast, like sheep without a shepherd.37 Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.38 Therefore, plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
The Twelve Disciples; Instructions for Service
10 Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every sickness.
2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; and James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who also betrayed Him.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them, saying, “Do not go on a road to Gentiles, and do not enter a city of Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9 Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10 or a bag for your journey, or even two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is deserving of his support.11 And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. 12 As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13 If the house is worthy, see that your blessing of peace comes upon it. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. 14 And whoever does not receive you nor listen to your words, as you leave that house or city, shake the dust off your feet.15 Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment, than for that city.
A Hard Road Ahead of Them
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as wary as serpents, and as innocent as doves. 17 But be on guard against people, for they will hand you over to the courts and flog you in their synagogues;18 and you will even be brought before governors and kings on My account, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who are speaking, but it is the Spirit of your Father who is speaking in you.
21 “Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.
23 “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
In verse 35, Jesus’ ministry purpose is clearly seen: to be among the people to teach, preach, and heal. He had compassion for His people, because the people were “distressed and dispirited,” also translated as “harassed and helpless.” The religious leaders were focused on themselves and not on the people they were supposed to be caring for. Compassion can be described as “passion in action”; Jesus took action to care for people and gave His disciples both the power and the mission to do the same. Jesus could not do the work alone; He needed His disciples to go and care for the people. But even that was not enough to fully take care of the people’s spiritual needs, so Jesus told them to pray to God for more workers (Matthew 9:38).
Just as it was not sufficient to have only Jesus and the disciples carrying out the gospel mission, it is not enough for only pastors and spiritual leaders to tell those who are lost about Jesus. This mission is for all of Jesus’ disciples, for all of us Christians. It is for YOU to do the work.
Are you carrying out the mission of the gospel by telling people the good news of Jesus Christ? If not, what is keeping you from doing His work? Just like Jesus, you are among people and you see their need for Jesus in their lives. God has saved you to have “passion in action” and introduce Jesus to all people.