The readings for the past two Sundays from Matthew 9:35-10:8 and Matthew 10:24-39 have centered around the moment Jesus sends out the 12 disciples to carry forward his mission and ministry. This isn’t the last time these disciples will be commissioned and sent out to continue Jesus’ ministry; it’s a trial run for them. I’ll remind you of the points I’ve made about these texts over the past two weeks:
Jesus sees people harassed and helpless
Jesus has compassion on them
Jesus instructs the disciples to pray
Jesus gives the disciples authority
Jesus sends the disciples out
Jesus’ mission and ministry
Jesus shares the cost of discipleship
I think it’s often easy to preach and teach about the first passage—it’s easy because Jesus is conferring power and mission and authority. That’s exciting stuff! That’s inspiring stuff! But, we often fail to preach and teach the second half—that power and mission and authority, as a disciple of Jesus, demand a high level of commitment. The road is narrow and hard to walk. As disciples of Jesus, we will face moments when we are persecuted, pointed at, politicized, and ostracized. The road we are being called to walk will not be easy or comfortable. In fact, if we take Jesus at his word, then Jesus tells his disciples (us included) directly that they are being sent out “like sheep among wolves.” (Mt 10:16).
So, I invite you, in the midst of your coming and going this summer, to take a few minutes to evaluate your commitment to Jesus. Take some time to look at what you believe and how you live those beliefs out daily. Spend time in prayer and reflection to discern where you are struggling or stumbling, and ask Jesus, once again, to strengthen you for the work ahead. If you need a place to start, check out the questions for reflection written by John Wesley.
Friends, Jesus is sending us out today with his power and authority to make disciples and transform the world. The cost is high, and the call is great, but God is with us and will lead us all the way.
For Jesus. For People. For Community.