Saturday 04 December 2010

Bible Book:

"Those twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: 'Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'" (vv. 5-6)

Matthew 9:35 - 10:8 Saturday 4 December 2010


"Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and no town of the Samaritans" -these are hardly words we would expect of Jesus, the one whowelcomed the children, who healed the Centurion's servant, whobroke down boundaries. What was he taking about? 

The words are Jesus' instructions to the 12 disciples (or apostles)who are being let out on their own for the first time. Up untilthen they had been with Jesus, listening to his words, watching hisactions, living with him day by day. Now is their chance to putwhat they have learnt, seen and experienced into action - "Proclaimthe good news, 'The heaven of heaven has come near.' Cure the sick,raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons." (verses7-8) 

The 12 disciples were not the elite, but were ordinary peoplerepresenting the whole people of God. It is suggested that theywere 12 in number in reference to the 12 tribes of Israel. Theywere ordinary Jews coming from different trades, numbering amongstthem fishermen and tax collectors. 

It would have been a daunting experience being sent out by Jesus.And Jesus would have realised that as he too was sent by hisFather. Maybe that is why Jesus limits their mission by sendingthem only to Jewish areas, to people and a culture that they wouldhave been familiar with. Jesus was only giving them enough thatthey could handle. It was up to others to take the good newsfurther afield. 

The disciples were sent out in pairs, presumably to support andencourage one another. They were not left alone, not least with thepower of God with them too! 

Interestingly the Gospel writer Matthew doesn't record how thedisciples fared but in similar passages both Mark and Luke recordtheir success (Mark 6:13Luke9:6). 

To Ponder

The disciples were sent in pairs to support andencourage each other. How far do we trust our true selves to thoseGod puts around us?

Jesus put a limit to the mission and work of thedisciples. To what extent does God put a boundary on ourdiscipleship and witness, or do we create our own boundaries?

What can you do to "proclaim the good news, 'Thekingdom of heaven has come near.'" (verse 7)?

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