Our scripture this week is Matthew 9:35-10:8.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
“The kingdom of heaven has come near” – what a wonderful message to share with the world. The first to tell us this was John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2). After John was imprisoned, Jesus preached these words to the people (Matthew 4:17). Now He instructs the disciples to proclaim it as they witness.
This is the best statement of “God with us”. In Jesus, God has come to be one of us, to love and care and teach us about His kingdom. According to His plan, He taught the disciples and sent them into the world to share the Good News. As the disciples of today, it is our responsibility to continue spreading the word.
Jesus calls each of us to be His representative, a living testament to His sacrifice for us. We must be strong in an often difficult world. Our challenge is to be the messengers of Christ, to ensure all hear the truth that “the kingdom of heaven has come near”.
Holy Lord, we are humbled that You call us to do as You have done, sharing Your love with the world. Help us to be effective disciples that speak the truth of Your kingdom always. Amen.