Have you ever thought about how the twelve disciples might have reacted when Jesus said he was sending them out two by two? Evidently Jesus decided the time had come for his men to put into practice what they had learned from him.
They had watched Him heal, teach, preach, and interact with the people. They heard his illustrations (parables) to fit with many situations—sheep examples when shepherds were in the crowd; potter illustrations, rich men/poor men stories, or parables about lost things.
Now Jesus wanted his disciples to put their observations into action. Not only that, He said,
Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. Matthew 10:5-6
In other words, start where you are, begin with your own people, the ones you can best understand. In good time, the disciples will be told to go to the ends of the earth, but for now, going to their fellow Jews would be a good starting point.
What’s the message?
As you go, preach this message: “The kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 10:7
The disciples had been with Jesus for sometime now. They realized that being with Him was like being near God’s own heaven because He was the Son of the Father. They must mimic the Son and tell people in the towns about Him.
He empowered them to do things only He had been able to do.
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8
Whoa, that’s a tall order! Up to this time we have no mention of the disciples doing any kind of healing. Not only that…
Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no extra bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. Matthew 10:9-10
In other words, “Learn dependence!”
This hits close to home for me. I’m feeling the need to move my mother to a different memory care facility. She’s been very unhappy were she is, but to make a move at 95 is traumatic and takes a lot out of a person with dementia. On the other hand, I want her to be content. Do I move her or not?
I have had to be very diligent in prayer this week, seeking the Lord’s leadership. To put it bluntly—trusting. Learning yet again to be dependent on Him. I have had to call up one of my life verses.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Learning dependence on the Lord became an essential life lesson for the disciples. We’ll follow them again next week and see how it goes.
~ Joyce ~