Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 10:1-15
God wants to save everybody. So, God has chosen you and me to tell the Good News to everybody. We have answered the call because we had experienced Grace (Sermon on Jan. 9th) and felt Compassion (Sermon on Jan 16th).
However, we are not yet comfortable in sharing the Good News with strangers. So, Jesus made it practical and step-by-step process for you and me.
1. Jesus picked 12 disciples and their names are in the Bible. There were more than 5,000 people who followed Jesus at any given day and we do not know why Jesus chose these twelve. However, we know for sure that they had flaws and weaknesses but Jesus entrusted God’s work into their hands anyway. So, it is not up to our skills and talents. When God has chosen us, God should have really good reasons.
2. Then Jesus gave them (and to us) authority over unclean spirits. Some people ask this question: Then why can’t we cast out evil spirits from people and cure all kinds of diseases? We have to remember that what we have received is “authority” over unclean spirits. It is like the medical license that the graduates of the medical schools have when they pass the board exam. They have authority to cure all diseases but actual cure depends on many different components. As the doctors do their job as faithfully as they can, we will just do our ministry faithfully, trusting God’s love and power.
3. Then Jesus sent out them with detailed instructions. (1) First, Jesus said that we should start with our friends and family members (v. 6). We are not yet comfortable to talk to strangers. We can share our faith with those who are familiar to us. Eventually, we will expand our circle later (Matthew 28:19-20) but it takes 18 more chapters to go! (2) The message that we should share is, “The Kingdom of heaven has come near!” (v. 7) In other words, if we surrender ourselves before God, God would rule over our lives and we can enjoy abundant lives! (3) Thirdly, when we deliver the Good News, we also have to provide physical and mental care, too (v. 8-9). Actually, that can be a part of the Kingdom message. (4) Then Jesus promised to provide all the resources that the disciples would need on their way (v. 10-11). (5) Finally, Jesus commanded to the disciples (and to us) to respect the decision of the recipients (v. 12-14) even though the consequences would be disastrous (v. 15)! When we serve others, we should put a sign, “No Strings Attached!” Doctors also respect the DNR wishes of the patients. Such respect for the decision of others requires our faith in God. It is not we but God who can change the hearts of people! We have to practice the message that we proclaim.
We are not perfect and not ready. We have the authority from Jesus but nothing is guaranteed. We should show and tell that God is the King but many would reject our offers and services. Still we have to respect the rejections trusting God’s faithfulness and love. That is all God wants from us: faithful service.
1. With whom are you willing to share your faith story?
2. What kind of preparation do you feel that you need to share your faith with others?
3. What part of Jesus’ instruction is hard for you to swallow?