Below are my thoughts from the daily Bible reading of the West Side Church of Christ. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word. Also above in the tabs is a link to the Bible reading plan.
What Does this Passage Say?
- Jesus has spent nearly a year with his band of Disciples. He is now ready to send them out to preach, teach, heal and cast out spirits on their own. I love Jesus strategy here. He wants to see how they “preform.” One day in the future the church is going to rely on their preaching and teaching. Now, while He is still with them, it is a prime time to teach them, encourage them, and correct them after their preaching tours.
- Here Matthew gives the full list of the twelve disciples; all but one will become Apostles. This list seems to group the disciples in the pairs that Jesus sent them out in. By sending the disciples out in pairs Jesus is meeting the Mosaic Law that requires two or three witnesses. Now before Jesus sends them out He has some instructions to give.
- These instructions prepare the men for their journey. These instructions Jesus gives are both for His disciples and their mission and for us today. Their message and our message are going to be slightly different.
- Jesus command to go only to Israel does not remain for us. They are on a preaching tour for training purposes. Plus their message would fall on deaf ears with Gentiles, and would be time consuming with Samaritans. The idea that the Kingdom of Heaven is near is completely false today. The Kingdom of Heaven is here and can be reached by all who put their faith and trust in Jesus today. Remember, this mission of the disciples is before the death of Jesus.
- Jesus instructs His disciples to travel light. This is going to be a quick and local trip. Later Jesus will give different instructions that include money, clothes, and much more preparation. Not only are they to travel light, but they are to stay put. They do not have the time to move from house to house and town to town. Moving too often can waste valuable resources and time.
- There is a practical lesson to be learned in this passage … those who are receiving blessings from God have a responsibility to bless those who have shared Jesus. The activity of preaching, teaching, healing, and caring for sickness does not come without any expense. While ministry is not there to make servants of God rich, ministers still need basic expenses covered. Jesus has arranged that those being ministered to supply the needs of those doing the ministry. This applies to us today in supporting a paid ministry staff and supply the resources needed to carry out ministry.
- Jesus wants His disciples to be prepared for the different type of people they will encounter on their travels. At this time they are in no danger. Jesus is still popular. The Pharisees hate of Jesus is just beginning. Some of this teaching is prophetic in nature. This does not happen on this trip, but we know that one day all of these disciples (except Judas) will face persecution for preaching Jesus.
- Jesus reminds the disciples that people can be wicked. They will at times face persecution because of this wickedness. When persecution comes upon them they are to leave, not fight back. There will be others whose hearts and minds will be open to receiving the message of the gospel. Go to them Jesus teaches.
- No matter what they are not to fear their persecutors. Jesus reminds that there will be a day when the pains of this earth will be gone and glory of Heaven will be present. No matter what is done to the body, those in Christ will have the eternal reward for their souls in the presence of God in Heaven. What a glorious reminder!!!
- Jesus reminded the disciples that even thought this mission in the future might be tough, and their reward great, through it all God knows them, loves them, and will protect them. Because of that they can have confidence to proudly share the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven to all they encounter. For this the reward is great.
What is this passage teaching?
- Jesus does not want His disciples to believe preaching and teaching the Kingdom of Heaven will be easy. It would not be easy. It will be met with opposition. It will be met with frustrations. It will be met with hardships. But through it all there is a great reward … eternity with God. What a wonderful blessing that is for those who steadfastly follow Jesus and share His kingdom.
How can I apply this passage to my life?
- As a disciple of Jesus we have the responsibility to share with all we encounter Jesus. We will do well to remember the words of Jesus and the reality that preaching and teaching His kingdom will not be easy. No matter how difficult it may be we can also take comfort and find strength knowing that in Him our reward is great. No matter how much opposition we face, no matter how tough evangelizing might be, there will come a day when we find rest. His rest is the best rest. His rest is for eternity. His rest takes us into the very arms of God. That is a rest I am willing to put my life on the line for. Are you?