As foreshadowed here yesterday, Jesus now begins to mobilize his “harvest workers.”
He called the twelve disciples together and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits, heal every disease and to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Then he gave them these instructions for their mission:
Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt, for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
(Matthew 10:1-15; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6)
There were more instructions to come. But these initial words are packed with deeeeep significance:
- The disciples weren’t on their own: they were given authority directly by Jesus.
- Their first mission was to God’s own people: the “lost sheep of Israel.”
- The message is clear: “The kingdom of heaven has come near.”
- They would do as Jesus did: heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and drive out demons.
- They received freely: they were to give freely.
- They were to take nothing for the journey: their needs would be met.
- They were to proclaim the message to those who would listen and to move on from those who didn’t.
Reflect on those instructions as you contemplate your own role and mission in God’s Kingdom.
Much more to come tomorrow. Stay tuned.
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Feng Yu)