Day 282: Matthew 10-12; Go and Tell What You Hear and See

While there are many different themes that present themselves in today’s reading, the one that sticks out most to me is that of those being sent out by Jesus.  As we pick up the narrative of Jesus’ ministry today we see Jesus preparing the disciples and then sending them out to the towns and villages of Israel, to the “lost sheep” spreading the news of the Kingdom of heaven.  He gives them specific instructions about how to prepare and what to expect, though we hear very little about the message that they are to give apart from the fact that “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”    Apart from that they are to heal the sick, raise the dead, and even cast out demons.  Generally speaking they are called to be and do what the people of Israel were called to be and do.  What we are seeing here is the beginnings of the “Kingdom of Heaven” or “the day of the Lord” as the prophets put it.  We don’t get a report back here, but in the book of Luke chapter 10 we hear the return of the 72 that Jesus sends out after He sends out the Twelve Disciples and the reports are astonishing.  All that they were sent to do was done and in each instance we see an in-breaking of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Later in today’s reading we see the disciples of John the Baptist come to Jesus to ask questions of Him.  I love Jesus’ response here: “God and tell John what you hear and see.”  It’s as if Jesus is asking them if what they have experienced meant nothing… they needed confirmation still even in the midst of all these miracles.  The advance of the Kingdom of God on this world is well underway, yet still there are doubts.

I wonder if we too think in these manners.  I wonder if we have any experience that can share with others.  As many of the Christians I know discuss how to best do evangelism and reach out to “the lost” in their different churches, it seems as though we always come back to the question of “how inviting are we as a church” as if the call of God is to be the warmest, most comfortable church in town so that people will come to us.  Yet that’s not what we see as an example here.  Jesus hasn’t set Himself in a local synagogue to preach and teach and make it warm and welcoming, He is out in the neighborhoods and towns, and sending people out into other neighborhoods and towns to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven.  What is that proclamation?  It is the very thing that He sent His disciples to do: heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and preach the good news to the poor!  This is what Jesus is doing and this is what He sends His disciples to do.  They are a “sent community.”  This is a theme that will come back time and again in the Gospels and in the whole of the New Testament and it is not a new one either.  The people of Israel were not given the land of Canaan so they could build walls and keep the people of the world out, they were placed there because they were GUARANTEED to have interactions with the nations around them.  Have you received Jesus into your life?  Have you experienced the grace of God and the redemption that He offers?  Go and tell the world what you experience in the love of God!

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