Jesus sent these twelve out and commanded them, “Don’t go among the Gentiles or into a Samaritan city. Go instead to the lost sheep, the people of Israel. As you go, make this announcement: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, and throw out demons. You received without having to pay. Therefore, give without demanding payment. ... If anyone refuses to welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet as you leave that house or city. I assure you that it will be more bearable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on Judgment Day than it will be for that city. [Matthew 10:5-8,14-15 CEB]
Jesus has just given his disciples authority to cast out unclean spirits and to heal every disease they encounter. Now he sends them out on their first mission trip. A few reflections:
- The focus was the lost people of Israel. Jesus was not eliminating gentiles
in general but just in this specific mission.
- When the kingdom is near, the miraculous is possible.
In this we get a picture of what heaven might be like.
- The ministry of the kingdom is without charge but the workers should
have their needs met by those who welcome their ministry.
- Ministers need to be received. Too often religious people have an
ungodly cynicism when it comes to pastors and ministers.
- There is a blessing when we receive ministers, drop our guard and
open up to the Holy Spirit's work through them.
- There is a consequence to rejecting the gospel and the minister of the gospel.
It is a serious thing to reject the Holy Spirit.
- Ministers of the gospel are usually amateurs sent by the Lord.
On the flip-side others sometimes discount the Holy Spirit's working through others and miss out on the blessing that comes through the ongoing ministry of amateurs.
Lord, help me to be open to your working through me and through others.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.