Thursday in the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 10:1-15, 11:1; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6

Jesus Equips His Disciples

After a significant period of time instructing his disciples, Jesus sends them out, two by two, on their first preaching tour.  The message was the same as that of Jesus: the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the need to repent and believe the good news.  Each gospel mentions that Jesus “gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases.”  In other words, these men were especially commissioned and equipped by the Lord himself to do what he commanded them to do.  They were to travel lightly, enter the house of one who was worthy (that is, someone who received the message), and stay there until they left.  They were to freely give to others in the way of healing and casting out demons as they had freely received power from Jesus, and they were to freely receive the hospitality of their hosts.  And there was a sense of urgency in the message: to go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  The disciples would discover over time that the gospel was ultimately intended for all; but for now, they must seek the lost ones of Israel, as Paul said, “To the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).  Any city that would not receive their message would receive severe judgment when that great day arrives.

I want to highlight just a few things.  First, as was already said, Jesus especially commissioned these men and “gave them power and authority.”  This is not an event that we are called to copy.  We are not apostles and do not have such power or authority.  We are called to witness, of course, but please be careful applying such time-bound and specific instructions to yourself.  In such a way, people make fools of themselves and bring disdain on the message.  In the current dispensation in which we live, one must be called of God and proved by the church, and 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus cover that subject very well.  Secondly, we learn that even though these instructions do not concern us specifically, God does equip those He sends.  Here, Jesus gave his disciples power and authority to do mighty deeds to confirm the message; today, the Holy Spirit gives numerous gifts to his people (Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:11-16; and the Pastoral epistles listed just above) to do the work of ministry for the equipping of the saints.  Trust God to equip you where you are for His glory.  Finally, I would like to highlight the mission to the Jews.  The Jews are our spiritual ancestors.  They are children of Abraham but do not have the gospel because they do not receive Christ as Lord.  We should pray for them fervently; after all, Romans 11 tells us that great blessings will come upon the Church when they finally do come in.

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