- Message: Jesus called his disciples to be apostles and he sent them out to reach only Israel – (Don’t go to the Gentiles or Samaritans) go to Israel, “God’s lost sheep”.
- Command: Go and tell them (Israel) the Kingdom of Heaven is near: Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure the lepers and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received.
- Promise: If you receive a prophet you will receive a prophet’s reward, if you receive righteous people you will be given a reward like theirs and if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers you will surely be rewarded.
- Warning: You WILL be handed over to the courts and will be flogged and whipped in the synagogues. You will stand trial because you are my followers.
- Application: There is so much more to pull out of this but what I see is the pattern of twelve men going through discipleship, walking closely with Jesus and then being sent out to reach people. Christians often get this backwards because we feel like this kind of “promotion” is to gain an elevated status or even respect. This was an example of sacrifice and Jesus was literally warning them that were about to go through some PAIN and suffering and that their lives would be threatened. They would not be treated with respect. They would be humiliated, taken to court, beaten and thrown into prison. This was par for the course and they went it to it believing that it was an HONOR to be treated this way because it meant they would suffer like they watched Jesus suffer. This didn’t even include the pain of living a life of discipline and obedience in their own lives. This was on top of their own self-discipline. For some reason when we go through some discomfort in our lives, or when we are suffering through working out discipline in our own lives we cry and beg for grace, we give excuses, we procrastinate and we beg for breakthroughs. We applaud ourselves for even thinking about change, but blame God, other people and the devil as we feel sorry for ourselves through our misery. I’m not saying that we should enjoy pain, just that we should expect it if we are really living out the gospel. When I look at these apostles I’m ashamed of my pampered self! This challenges me a lot because pain is not an excuse to stop moving. It’s as normal and expected as pain with a workout or training. The benefits far outweigh the suffering. We have a lot to gain from our salvation so “No Pain No Gain”!
Fun fact: *Did anybody pick up on the reference of Nimrod in the middle of all that genealogy in Genesis 10:8-10? Americans are the only ones that associate Nimrod as an “idiot”. If you Google this it seems we got the idiot reference from an old cartoon. The bible describes him as a skilled hunter and hero, and apparently so does the rest of the world!