Did you ever see the Apostle Matthew as humble and unassuming? Yep, he was and in chapter 9 we see a short snippet of his calling. Here he was minding his own business…the tax business that is and along comes this radical preacher dude and says “Follow Me.”. Hmmmm Choices! Choices! Yet, this humble man who was wealthy beyond all the others around him not only followed him but had a banquet to celebrate his new “calling.” No longer would he catch tax evaders but he would catch men to do the same thing as he did. No longer would he gather $$ to fill his coffers but he would gather souls for the kingdom.
So what has he been doing in these past few months or even short years? He has been listening and watching, observing and memorizing passages of scripture, been eating with the other dudes who were also called. Let’s see, there were fishermen, and zealots. There was the sweet Andrew who loved kids and his brother Peter the big and burly guy who thought he knew better but often had “foot in mouth disease.” Yet all had heard the call “Follow Me ” and they had made the choice. And now? Now the mentor who has lived shoulder to shoulder, life on life, in close proximity with them moment by moment has chosen to challenge them in the only way He knew they would know the way of the Master. He chose to send them out two by two. And look at who his partner is going to be…Thomas. Yep the one and only: Doubting Thomas. Wonder what their diary read after being together for a week or more? But, then the greatest diary read had to be Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot. Wonder what their time as a team was like.
So into this motley mix of “dudes” Jesus summons them and says I am sending you on a mission. And this is what he said and how he prepared them:
I am giving you My authority…heavenly authority. As such you will now bear the emblem of the heavenly to do heavenly work. You now will have power over the unclean spirits, power to heal and to touch the lepers and make them clean. You will have the anointing power of the Spirit to preach the word to Israel that were like sheep without a shepherd. You have the good news and My authority to share it with all of Israel.
Then Jesus instructed them prior to their being sent out. He said: stay in Israel, preach the message that the kingdom is at hand, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Trust God for all of your daily provisions just as you have seen me do with you. Even though I have had no place to lay my head, my Father has provided for my every meal, my place of rest when I am weary, my every need and He shall do the same for you.
And lastly, Jesus also warned them of what lay ahead for discipleship is costly. You will meet unsavory characters, the enemy’s servants, and those who will persecute you for your message and lifestyle. So you must be as wise as a serpent…that is prudent and shrewd, and yet innocent or inoffensive as a dove. Your character must have both sides of the coin to meet all and any situation you will meet. Three times he told them “do not fear” thus reminding them that although they were men the enemy is the fallen archangel, Satan, and he will set traps to cause even grown men to become fearful.
But the chapter does not end there. Tucked at the end is this verse: Matt 10:42 “whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, I tell you the truth, he will never lose his reward.” I wonder if they remembered that as they walked the dusty roads of Israel? I wonder if they talked about the authority, the instructions, the warnings or concentrated on this verse? It is at times like this I want to be a fly on the wall and see and hear and experience what they did…but *sigh* that was then and this is now. It is really up to “Me n’ Jesus” to get this job done. Will you join us? Where two or three are gathered in His name we are truly a majority. Come join me on this journey!