Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5-7
As I write this article, I am sitting by the window that overlooks a massive beautiful coffee plantation. The wind gently enters through the window and caresses and teases me with the anticipation of respite from the heat and humidity. I am three days away from returning to Flagstaff and my beautiful wife Jennifer. As I reflect on this past month and my preaching, teaching, and conference itinerary… I compare what the text says, and the mission completed here in Costa Rica. Jesus provided the litmus test of what his disciples were and are called to do. Let’s look a little closer to what He said in scripture.
First, the text tells us that: “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.” (9:35). Then the text tells us that he commanded His disciples to do the same (10:6b-8). Eugene Peterson, in his book The Message wrote: “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.”
Second, the text tells us what caused Jesus to send his disciples out to the mission field: “When He saw the throngs, He was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd.” (9:36). We, as His disciples, will never be effective or successful in ful- filling the Great Commission… unless we have compassion and our heart breaks for those who are lost and separated from God.
Third, based on his observation of the hurting masses… Jesus acted. He did not go to the synagogue and create a committee. He did not gather the Pharisees and give them a conference about their membership’s condition. He acted! He did three things: 1) He told them that there is much work to do, however there are very few willing to do it. 2) He told them what to do…Pray. He told them to ask God to send workers to the mis- sion field. 3) He sends His disciples out with authority and power to function as His representative among those who are hurting.
As I look back at all that God did on this mission trip, I hold up the litmus paper of God’s Word and smile - because as I read the great commission in The Message (28:18-20) I realize that I have taken Jesus’ charge not as a suggestion… but as a command. Listen to what Eugene Peterson writes: “Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and (continued on page 2) Church of the RESURRECTION “Where People Come Alive!” Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Jesus revolutionized the world with just a handful.
I wonder what would happen in our homes, our churches, our country and the world if God’s children, Jesus’ disciples, would hear his call and Go… to the Least, the Last, and the Lost. He is calling…are you listening?
-Eli Reyes (Founder) Oasis of Hope Ministries Church of The Resurrection - Ruling Elder