Matthew – Fulfilled
I spent a great amount of my growing up time on Grandpa and Grandma Lacquement’s farm in Oklahoma. I watched them work the soil to grow enough food for them and for others and care for the many animals that they loved. When I was old enough to help, they carefully taught me how to pick strawberries at the right time, how to get eggs from a hen without being pecked, how to treat newborn Siamses kittens until weaned to sell, how to work a horse until safe to ride and many other farm related chores. I followed Grandpa everywhere he went, facinated at his work. I was given value when he asked me to join him in his work on the farm or when asked to sweep up the remains of his carpentry work he did for others.
Jesus was sent with a very specific work to do on earth. Many followed Him, facinated by his work. Jesus’s broken heart from yesterday’s passage led Him to lead the followers to pray for help in His work. God answered this prayer with devoted followers, “The Twelve” to help him. Jesus gives specific instructions and trained them before sending them out. His advice helps us today as we join Him in His ongoing work to seek and to save lost and confused people. I am given value and am honored to join Him in His work when asked…just like a child wanting to be near and please her grandpa whom she adored.
Matthew 10, The Message (part one)
The Twelve Harvest Hands
10 1-4 The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered. Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives. This is the list of the twelve he sent:
Simon (they called him Peter, or “Rock”),
Andrew, his brother,
James, Zebedee’s son,
John, his brother,
Matthew, the tax man,
James, son of Alphaeus,
Simon, the Canaanite,
Judas Iscariot (who later turned on him).
5-8 Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
9-10 “Don’t think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.
11 “When you enter a town or village, don’t insist on staying in a luxury inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave.
12-15 “When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they’ll be mighty sorry—but it’s no concern of yours now.
16 “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.
17-20 “Don’t be naive. Some people will impugn your motives, others will smear your reputation—just because you believe in me. Don’t be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they’ve done you—and me—a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.
21-23 “When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don’t quit. Don’t cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you’ve run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.
24-25 “A student doesn’t get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn’t make more money than his boss. Be content—pleased, even—when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get. If they call me, the Master, ‘Dungface,’ what can the workers expect?
26-27 “Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now.
28 “Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.
Dear Heavenly Father,
This is STILL good training and advice for those who say yes to You and want to follow You. I’m Yours. I’m listening. I repent of being intimated and naive at times. Help us to never give up telling Your story and pointing others to You. Help us to see the lost and confused as You see them. Keep us alert. Help us to remember who we are in you…at our core being. In Jesus Name, and by His Holy Spirit’s power living in us, Amen. I believe.