Friday 18 July, 2014

Matthew 10:1-25

10 Jesus called for his 12 disciples to come to him. He gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every illness and sickness. 2 Here are the names of the 12 apostles. First are Simon Peter and his brother Andrew. Then come James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John. 3 Next are Philip and Bartholomew, and also Thomas and Matthew the tax collector. Two more are James, son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus. 4 The last are Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot. Judas is the one who was later going to hand Jesus over to his enemies. 5 Jesus sent these 12 out with the following orders. “Do not go among those who aren’t Jews,” he said. “Do not enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Instead, go to the people of Israel. They are like sheep that have become lost. 7 As you go, preach this message, ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8 Heal those who are sick. Bring those who are dead back to life. Make those who have skin diseases ‘clean’ again. Drive out demons. You have received freely, so give freely. 9 “Do not take along any gold, silver or copper in your belts. 10 Do not take a bag for the journey. Do not take extra clothes or sandals or walking sticks. A worker should be given what he needs. 11 “When you enter a town or village, look for someone who is willing to welcome you. Stay at that person’s house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, greet those who live there. 13 If that home welcomes you, give it your blessing of peace. If it does not, don’t bless it. 14 “Some people may not welcome you or listen to your words. If they don’t, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 What I’m about to tell you is true. On judgment day it will be easier for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. 16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as wise as snakes and as harmless as doves. 17 “Watch out! Men will hand you over to the local courts. They will whip you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought to governors and kings because of me. You will be witnesses to them and to those who aren’t Jews. 19 “But when they arrest you, don’t worry about what you will say or how you will say it. At that time you will be given the right words to say. 20 It will not be you speaking. The Spirit of your Father will be speaking through you. 21 “Brothers will hand over brothers to be killed. Fathers will hand over their children. Children will rise up against their parents and have them put to death. 22 Everyone will hate you because of me. But anyone who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 “When people attack you in one place, escape to another. What I’m about to tell you is true. You will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24 “A student is not better than his teacher. A servant is not better than his master. 25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher. And it is enough for the servant to be like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, what can the others who live there expect?

When I first read this passage I focused on all the wrong things.

I focused on “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons” and it sounded so hard; but I should have focused on “Give as freely as you have received!”. They just had to speak the authority they had just been given.

I focused on “Don’t take any money …  Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes”, and that sounded harder, but I should have focused on “Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality”. He was telling them to expect and be open to receiving all they needed.

I focused on “If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message” which sounded like bad things were coming and I missed that “When you enter the home, give it your blessing” came first. He is telling them to look for good things in people, to expect welcome first.

I focused on “you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues” and this sounded awful, but I should have focused on “But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me”. Attempts at evil will be confounded and turned into good.

I focused on “When you are arrested” (that’s got to be bad!) but I should have focused on “don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time”. God was with them every step and doing the hard bits.

Jesus is realistic and honest about the opposition they (and we) may receive, but he is positive and optimistic. And I should be too.

Father, give me your eyes to see all that I have, the opportunities, the good (even if through the distraction of opposition) and to give as freely as I have received.

Written by David Cornell

2 replies
  1. Dimity milne says:

    This is great David. It normalises the fact that our witness will often not meet with the acceptance we desire, but that Jesus knew and does not leave us without backup. He has an answer for every situation we find ourselves in. As in ps 23: even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I FEAR no evil for YOU are WITH me.

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