Passion for People
Lord, You are my strength and my joy. I offer up to You this day that You have made.
Consider: "God to enfold me, God to surround me, God in my speaking, God in my thinking, God in my life, God in my lips, God in my heart" (Celtic prayer).
This passage describes the transition that sees the coming of God's kingdom extended to the activity of Jesus' twelve disciples. In the Sermon on the Mount we were told what kingdom life and relationships should be like. Jesus then embarked on a period of bringing in the new order, culminating in an intense period of traveling throughout the region preaching the Good News of the Kingdom and demonstrating its transformational power. The bridge into the disciples' commissioning is that of Jesus' deep compassion. With strong Old Testament echoes (Ezek. 34; 1 Kings 22:17; 2 Chron. 18:16; Isa. 53:6), his deep concern is that the shepherd-less crowds are oppressed and helpless with no rescuer. The language contains a reminder that the shepherd can refer to God or the Davidic Messiah whom God promised to send.
The named disciples are given detailed instructions about what to take with them, what to do and how to behave. These instructions contain principles for living for Jesus in the world, but it is the authority given them by him that enables them to fulfill his instructions. Their mission is birthed out of the passion of Jesus for people, shaped by kingdom principles and empowered by Jesus' own authority vested in them. They were to hold money, possessions and personal comfort lightly. Focusing on Israelites, they were to preach and operate in the context of announcing, and by implication believing, that the kingdom was near. With Jesus the kingdom was so near that it had actually dawned.
Notice that the disciples' mission started with Jesus' passion, his strong feelings, that really saw people's condition. The same is true today--we are invited to join in God's mission, his activity in the world, by sharing his passion for people.
The early disciples were commissioned to go and proclaim, "The Kingdom of heaven is near!" (10:7). How would you share this message? What insights come from the passage?
Heavenly Father, I thank You that Your Kingdom has come into my life. You have taken the same old things of my daily life and given them new meaning.
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