When I was a young boy, the idea of “going out” involved escaping the concrete streets of my neighborhood for the woods located at the end of a cul-de-sac near our home. The concept of “going out” meant to go beyond the boundaries of the familiar where intrigue and ingenuity were evident. The adventures with my friends were often filled with excitement, laughter and anticipation as the woods became our playground. Yet, the thought of going out alone into the unknown of the large, vast wooded area was originally daunting, almost frightening. The experience with my friends and my bravado as I aged provided the moxie to investigate the woods on my own. The perception of the woods while alone was quite different from my experience while with others.
In this week’s lesson in Matthew 10:1-16, Jesus gives the disciples, whom Matthew calls apostles which means ambassador, the challenge of proclaiming that the kingdom of heaven is at hand and to heal all types of outcast individuals, those shunned by Jewish tradition. Further, he limits their provision and protection, forcing them to become reliant upon others. He concludes his directive by warning them to be as prudent as a snake and as peaceful as a dove.
Why the experience? Jesus has recently shared what the kingdom of heaven was like in 8 parables studied over the past 4 weeks in Matthew 13. He has also healed many a sick person including a bleeding woman, a demon-possessed man and a young girl while the disciples watched. Each of these individuals were not exactly the local professor, banker or business owner…they were outcasts! Jesus wants the disciples to go to the disenfranchised to preach the gospel and heal the sick. All to prepare them for the future role of apostles in a hostile, challenging world.
Similar to my initial independent voyage into the woods, the disciples are likely thrilled but scared. Anticipating the joy of the unknown but restless with limited resources and uncertain results. Is this symbolic of our faith? We have been given all the tools but the uncertainty of the outcome limits our willingness to rely or to trust in His provision. The disciples persevered in their mission and returned to share the impact.
Are we doing the same in helping the afflicted while sharing the blessings and joy of the impact? This is more seed being sown, brothers!
If you feel the Lord’s nudge to go deeper with him as a disciple to cast the seed of faith as a husband, father, neighbor and friend, consider joining a group Bible study at the Center or meeting with a staff member to “walk with you” on the journey.
Blessings in the light of Christ,
HELPING TEPID BELIEVERS BECOME ACTIVE DISCIPLES!