missionary minded ?

To what are you committed ? How committed are you to it ? We can measure what is most important to us by reviewing what we spend our time on; by asking ourselves what we do whenever work and home commitments allow us time for ourselves.

What do we really consider as most important in our lives ? Job,  family, our favourite sport, our politics, our religion ?

Or perhaps you just drift through life not asking such questions. In which case allow me to point out that you are still committed to something – even if it is only your own self interest and survival.

Which, of course, is pretty normal.

In the 10th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel we read of the commitment Jesus Christ demanded from the twelve disciples he had chosen to train as his successors after his death and resurrection.

And the commitment he demanded was total.

Let me say straightaway that we must understand who is saying what, to whom,  why, and particularly When.

It is Jesus speaking instructions and explanations to 12 men he has chosen and is about to send out on a mission. They are to go among Jews only – not non Jews. They are to go, not just with a message, but with the power to back up that message.

That message is going to be revolutionary. It will so challenge the hearers that it will result in one of three responses. Total indifference; or total acceptance; or total rejection – possibly violent rejection.

There was a reason Jesus needed to warn the disciples to be prepared to face not just danger but indeed death. It was because this message and its meaning were going to challenge the hypocritical religious attitude of the Jews.

They had become accustomed to going through a religious ritual. And as had happened so often in their history, they had lost sight of the purpose of their religion.


Allegiance to God. Obedience to God. Love for God.

And Matthew here picks up yet again the refrain throughout his gospel account that a new dispensation – a new covenant – is now being implemented.

Ritual and religion are now out. They have served their purpose. They have shown that human beings will do anything but face the reality of God and what he demands. It is meaningless to go through the forms and ritual without the true heart commitment to God. It insults God.

And may I make this very important point. We may be talking about the Jews here and their religion. But in reality the Jews and the Old Testament record are but an example of what all human beings are like. Hypocritical and selfish beyond words.

The Old Testament merely serves to introduce the need for Jesus Christ. The constant failure of human beings to do as God says, despite repeated warnings over centuries, reveals the need for a Saviour. A Saviour who will not just pay the penalty for their sin, but a Saviour who will give them the very power of God to live as God says.

Why God’s power ?

Because human beings are incapable of loving and serving God of their own volition and their own humanity.

And this is the new dispensation – the new way of doing things – which Jesus is sending out the 12 apostles to preach.

Jesus is training these 12 men while he is still with them in person in what they need to know and what they need to do once they take over the work from him.

And by sending them out on this preliminary mission, he is doing two things.

One he is showing the 12 their utter dependence on God: that a man must be sent by God; a man must be equipped by God; a man must have total trust in God, even for his very life; a man must be totally committed to God, and understand that commitment before he goes.

The other is that he is introducing the Jewish people to the new Covenant, the New Testament which God is about to establish in place of the Old Covenant by which they have worshipped until now.

It is that challenge of a new and radically different way of doing things that will produce the sort of vicious reaction to which the apostle Paul was no stranger.

We hear in recent years of men claiming to be God’s apostles. Yet they look nothing like these original and authentic models recorded in the New Testament.

We hear of telly evangelists with millionaire lifestyles. We hear of men going about claiming the authority of the Apostle over people’s lives. But do these men demonstrate the sort of self sacrificial mindset and action we see recorded in the New Testament about the original apostles ?

Do such men demonstrate the qualities Christ required of his true apostles – his sent ones?

Of course there are no apostles today; no-one can now rewrite Holy Scripture.

But there are missionaries – those sent by God to  preach the gospel [evangelise] and to teach [pastor] God’s people God’s ways.

Matthew 10 provides the would-be missionary with a succinct and challenging guide book !

Christian Preacher

By Christianity

The personal icon photograph shows God's creation, the world. It reminds us that God is the Creator of all - the almighty, the all knowing and all present - the one who is most important of all. The one to whom we owe all, and the one to whom we will answer for all. The site's header image of the Bible [King James Authorised Version], a map, a light and a compass represent to us that God's word in the Bible is our spiritual map, illumination and guide through this life. Those who obey his teaching will know his presence and power - Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 23

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