Summary: Want to be a part of bringing God’s love to the world but think you have to be a missionary to the jungles of Africa to do it? Think again. Share the gospel without speaking a word.
As I’ve said on numerous occasions, there are two purposes for redeemed humanity: to glorify God by becoming like Him, and to therefore be more effective in bringing others into relationship with Him. To do the first we must come into relationship with Jesus—invite Him to do a friendly takeover of our lives. The second comes as we begin to think, talk, and act like Him.
Last time we saw Jesus, filled with compassion, seeing the people as “harassed and helpless.” He taught, proclaimed, and healed. Then he said to His disciples “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Someone must have been praying because that’s what Chapter 10 is all about—sending out people to represent Jesus and share the gospel. Now at this point it doesn’t include the cross, but it’s interesting because most of the things that we as apprentices today encounter are covered in these 42 verses.
Now this isn’t going to be a “Witnessing 101” class on cold evangelism. I think what Jesus tells His disciples is applicable to us who are simply willing to wear our relationship with Jesus on the outside.
1 – 4
The two things needed to step out are 1) authority from Jesus and 2) a calling from the Lord. Here Jesus “called” his disciples by name. Philippians 4:3 talks about our names being written in “the book of life.” As a disciple Jesus knows you by name and has a specific calling for you. That may not be to the darkest jungles of Africa, but it is no less important to His grand plan.
But to accomplish the things He is calling you to do you must have authority. On this short term training mission, Jesus grants authority to the disciples to do the same things He was doing—healing, casting out demons—as signs that God’s power was here and that His disciples represented Him in every way.
In John 14:12 Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” Just as He was about to go back to the Father He also said: (Matt 28:19-20) “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age.” That’s our calling and authority.
Everything we do should keep that in goal in view—every word, action, and decision should be done in light of our commission—and I’m not talking about spoken evangelism—actually sharing the gospel with words only—but with your life. More on that in a bit.
So we have a calling and authority—what now? The next thing you need is specific instructions—to be “sent out”.
5 – 15
Of course the gospel is meant for the whole world, but here Jesus confines the mission to just those which the disciples were comfortable being around—their fellow Jews. Jesus Himself in Matthew 15:24 says He was sent “only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” That’s because God chose Israel to birth the Messiah and bring salvation to the world. In fact in John 4:22 He said “salvation is from the Jews.” The gospel “leaked” out to the Samaritans (who intermarried with the Jews after being resettled in that land by the Assyrians) and to the Gentiles, but it wasn’t broadly shared until after the Ascension (Acts 1:8).
But the principals work for us as well and for the purposes of this study fall into six categories:
The Field of operation (vs 5 – 6)
On this training mission the field was only Israel. Of course the ultimate goal is to bring the good news to the entire world. In fact, Jesus Himself would send them specifically to Samaria (a mixed race of Jew and non-Jew settled by the Assyrians centuries before) and outward (Acts 1:8).
I like for us in two ways: 1) We aren’t sent out on the big stuff until we’ve had training on the small stuff and 2) Jesus has a specific field of operation for each of us. Don’t worry if you aren’t riding in canoes through the jungles of South America, conversing with natives along the way—maybe one day you will, or maybe you’ll maneuver a shopping cart through the aisle ways of Safeway, meeting and conversing with natives along the way.
Think about who you are, what you do, and what you like—it’s quite likely you’ll find your field of operation right there.