As I had indicated before, I have been reading the words of Jesus in the gospels. I initially thought I would be reading through them rather quickly but instead, it seems that I wind up dwelling on passages for some time. It hasn’t been my goal to see things differently, but that is what’s happening.
The passage I have been dwelling on for the past few days is Jesus’ instructions to the twelve as He sends them out to proclaim that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 10:5-41) The first thing that jumped out at me was that He said that they should be doing this proclaiming “as you go”. It isn’t when you get there or when you think the time is right or when it is convenient or when you think you know enough or if you think they’ll listen but “as you go”.
The next thing was that it was to be proclaimed to the lost. Not to those who already have the message but to those that don’t. The message, in this case, is that the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. To those Jesus was instructing, the kingdom was close but not yet there. For us, it’s already here. We just need to come to that realization that it is and take that step to enter into it. The other thing that they were bringing is their peace. Not the world peace that everyone keeps wishing for but that inner peace that indwells the believer. The peace that we have when we are no longer in conflict with God, but in a loving relationship with Him through our faith in His Son.
As He goes on in His instructions, He wants the disciples to know that not everyone will be excited or open to this message. They will face all kinds of trouble and rejection, but that’s okay. It isn’t something we need to dwell on because God will take care of those who refuse to accept His message or refuse the offer of peace. When I was sharing some of these thoughts with Linda this morning, she made the comment that even though they may initially reject it, the seed was still planted. And as Paul would instruct the church in Corinth, our job is to plant and water and it is God who will give the increase.
As disciples of Christ, we have enrolled as students, who through a continuous life of learning, strive to be like our teacher, Christ. And Jesus says that is enough. We also understand that there is a cost to discipleship, because when we become followers of Christ, it can mean that even members of our own families will be against us. Too many of us are worried about what others may think or do rather than being concerned about what God wants or will do. How often are we afraid to share the good news of the kingdom of heaven or to offer the peace that is only found through Christ because of what others may think about us. When we allow that to happen are we then not denying Him? Check out what Jesus has to say about that in Matthew 10:32-33.
God loves you and so do I, Dana