Jesus sent the twelve out after instructing them.” Matthew 10:5a
Talk about a life change! Twelve disciples had been coat-tailing Jesus for three years, marveling at His compassion, His power, His miracles and His teaching. Matthew 9:35-36 says, “Jesus was going through all the cities and villages teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus saw the tremendous need for reaching people with His message of hope and salvation.
It was about to be graduation day.
Twelve men’s lives were about to change forever. In Matthew 10:5-15 Jesus taught His disciples to replace their comfort with a commitment to follow Jesus’ commands. He asked the disciples to exchange their observance of Jesus’ teaching with obedience to His commands. He told them they needed to replace their reflections and their thinking with action.
In this passage, Jesus gave them specific instructions about who to see, what to do and how to do it. He told them not to go to the pagans or the hypocrites, (the Gentiles or the Samaritans) “but rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” (verse 10:6) Jesus gave them clear and precise instructions. It was time to start spreading the Gospel and do the same things He had done with the same compassion and sacrifice..
He instructed them to forsake all their worldly possessions, and everything they might take on a journey in that day. “Do not acquire gold or silver or copper for your money belt,” he told them (v 10:9). “Don’t take a bag for your journey or even two coats or sandals, or a staff (v.10a), for the worker (a disciple) is worthy of his support.
In other words, “I’m cutting the tether. I’m telling you to go out without any worldly possessions, into a world alone and without Me, a world that will hate you and persecute you and reject you.
So the exponential spread of the Gospel began with Jesus’ disciples. But, we can’t do any good for the glory of God until we deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. Forsaking everything. Owning nothing. Caring for nothing or no one more than we care for Jesus.
God requires the same of us if we’re going to be disciples and authentic followers of Jesus Christ. We don’t like to admit how much it costs to be a disciple of Jesus. We have Jesus’ clear instructions in God’s Word. We know who to see, what to do and how to do it. We know how wonderful and significant His message of hope and eternal life is. We know it will transform lives. We know we have unlimited capacity to do what Jesus teaches us to do in His word. We know it requires total dependence on Him, just like he teaches us in His word.
If God spoke clearly to you and gave you a command you didn’t like, would you follow it? Would you be willing to make the same sacrifices the disciples made? It is never easy spreading the Gospel message. But God commands us to do so.