Summary: Jesus continues to reveal His True Identity as He calls recruits to His Gospel Message.
In our last study we looked at the close of Matthew 9:37-38: "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." The harvest of God would be a world-wide harvest; not one restricted to one field. It would be a harvest, not of fruits and vegetables, but of people. It would be God’s harvest, so pray to the Lord of Harvest that there would be enough laborers to go out into the world.
We look at Matthew 10:1 to see how God goes about gathering recruits for His harvest: “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
Prayer and Preaching Recruits
Jesus was sent into this world to give himself as a payment for the sins of those who would believe but He was not sent as the sole preacher of the Gospel. It is another part of the miracle of God’s Grace that He makes others messengers of that Grace Gospel.
In today’s passage, Jesus recruits those whom He asks to pray for ministry. The ones whom Jesus asked to pray for the Kingdom are the same ones that Jesus calls to preach for the Kingdom. If you pray for the church and pray for the unsaved world, you will begin to see the world as Jesus sees it, and so it is difficult for you to pray for the unsaved, without also being involved in preaching in some way or another. When you preach the gospel, you are giving God’s invitation of Grace to the same ones to whom you are warning of judgment, so in a very real way, Prayer recruits will be preaching recruits. It can hardly be avoided. The unfortunate thing for many Christians is that they avoid prayer; if you avoid prayer FOR the LOST, you certainly will not want to share the Gospel WITH the Lost. If the lost are not on your heart and mind, the message of the Gospel will not be on your tongue.
In Luke 6:12 tells us: “It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles.” Jesus prayed all night in order to make the selection according to God’s Sovereign leading.
The Call of Recruits
Look at how the disciples are recruited; They are summoned or Called to Jesus by Jesus. The Greek word used to summon is proskaleo, (pros-kä-le'-ô), which is a compound verb: kaleo means “to call”, and “pros” means” toward”. It means to call someone toward you so that you're face to face with them. Of the 30 times this word is used in the New Testament, 20 of the times it is Jesus who is doing the calling.
Every time that the word is used, it is used in an official setting and a calling is authoritative. That is also the case in this situation: Make no mistake that when Jesus calls you, it is an official commission because it is a divine calling. Jesus didn’t hold interviews or give personality tests. He didn’t screen people; He Called Them face to face for His will and purpose, and Jesus trained them, and gave them authority which proved that the calling had been given them by God.
The disciples had already been in training with Jesus. They had no doubt been converted to believe in Jesus as the Messiah; then they were called to discipleship, leaving their worldly occupations for a permanent position with Jesus. Thirdly, here they are commissioned by Jesus and sent out. This wasn’t their final step: Mark tells us that they went out 2 by 2 in this first case. This wasn’t permanent either. They were in close contact with each other and Jesus, and they returned to Jesus and to each other for a long period after this “test flight” or initiation or internship. After the resurrection and Jesus’ ascension, they were commissioned by the Holy Spirit’s presence at Pentecost.
Consequences of the Call of the recruits
Take a moment to look at the Consequences of the Call of the recruits. The Old Israel was represented by 12 tribes and 12 patriarchs; the New Israel of God and the Gospel would be launched by 12 disciples, later named “apostles”. The disciples were certainly under daily training by the teacher, and after a considerable education by the Word of Life, the students actually graduate from being a student of the teacher to being a proclaimer for the teacher. Later, after witnessing Jesus after the resurrection, seeing His ascension, and then being filled with His Spirit, they would graduate from disciples to apostles. But this was not on account of their skills, but on account of being called, and of them being obedient to the call and teaching of the Lord Jesus.