In the prior section, Jesus told His disciples to pray for the Lord of the Harvest to send workers; now He informs His disciples that they are the workers the Lord of the Harvest has sent. The text doesn’t really say how the disciples felt about this, but if you have ever prayed that God would send someone to meet a need, and then realized that He sent you, you will have an idea.
In verses 5-15, Jesus gives them a series of imperatives, 16 in all, which serve as a set of “ground rules” for their adventure. First, He tells them to go to the lost sheep of Israel, and not to either Gentiles of Samaritans. Next, He tells them they are to proclaim the Kingdom as He has been doing, and with their authority to heal and so forth, they are to perform miracles as Jesus has done, accepting no payment. They are not to take any cash or supplies with them; they will find people along their way to take them in. They should give a welcoming house their greeting, and if deserving, their peace and if no one will welcome them and listen to their message, they are to leave that town to its fate.
It always strikes me that this set of instructions is a paradox: On one hand the disciples have been given unprecedented authority. They bear with them the proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the ability to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, drive our demons; the whole package that Jesus has used, and essentially, they are taking His place on this road trip. Yet they are completely vulnerable having no money and no provisions. They may not accept payment for healings done miraculously, and they must depend on strangers for the necessities of life; who travels like that?
We need to grasp this picture: They have with them all of the authority of Jesus, and at the same time, they must depend entirely upon God for their sustenance.
In this way, they are just like us, for we have His authority to proclaim the Kingdom and bring healing to those who will listen, and to the extent that we will place our full faith and trust in God, we will build His Kingdom. As was the case with the disciples, the only thing that remains to be seen is our level of trust in God.
I never really thought of how parallel we are to the original disciples. It’s a thought that is both comforting in some ways, and, to be honest, a little overwhelming in others! I’ll be thinking on this all day today.
An excellent undertaking!
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