Sunday, April 30
Suppose you were given the task of building a team that was responsible for learning some teachings and convincing everyone else in the world that those teachings were true. What kind of people would you pick for this team? I would go with an all-star team of doctors, lawyers, scholars, politicians, successful business people, and someone famous. Jesus had this same task, but he built an all-star team of fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot, probably some tradesmen, and more fishermen. These were the occupations of the twelve disciples. Think about how unremarkable this group was, and yet they were chosen to carry out probably the most important job in the history of mankind, to spread the gospel to the whole world. They were ordinary people on an extraordinary mission.
And guess what…the mission is not over, especially considering there are about seven billion people alive today that were not living a couple thousand years ago. I’m pretty sure all of the disciples died so they are not able to help with the work anymore. God needs a team now to carry on the mission and I suspect he is still counting on ordinary people to join the team. Yes, I am talking about you. God wants you to help preach the gospel to all of the nations.
But what is the message? In Matthew 10:12, Jesus said he wanted them to go out and preach about the kingdom. He wanted to make sure that everyone knew about the coming kingdom. Is everyone going to accept the message? Absolutely not. Jesus said if they don’t accept the message, shake off the dust of your feet and move on to the next place. It might seem odd that Jesus was sending them to places where they would be rejected, but he still thought it was important that everyone should hear the message so they can make the choice themselves. If someone doesn’t hear about the kingdom, they don’t have a chance to accept the kingdom message.
Is it going to be easy? Nope. Jesus said we are like sheep in the midst of wolves. He told us that it won’t be easy, and in fact, it could be dangerous. Moreover, if you choose to be on this team, the message is not always viewed favorably and your own family may hate you for it, even to the point of your own family having you killed. Jesus said in Matthew 11:11 that no one was ever greater than John the Baptist, yet his life ended when they chopped off his head. However, Jesus tells us the good news in Matthew 10:39, “He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake shall find it.”
In Matthew 12:19, it talks about Jesus’ approach. He won’t quarrel or cry out, and nobody in the streets will hear his voice. I believe this is our model of how to spread the gospel message. We are not looking for a fight. We don’t have to get angry with people because they disagree with us. We do not have to stand on street corners and scream at people that they are going to hell if they don’t repent. We just need to speak the truth in love. Explain to people what is going to happen in the future, especially what happens to them after they die. Tell them about the kingdom and how to attain salvation. If they are not interested in what you are saying, move on. There is no need for a heated debate and there is no need to keep pestering them. Just shake off the dust and move on. You can feel good that you gave them a chance for eternal life. The only time you should feel bad is when you had the opportunity to talk to someone and kept silent. What if they would have embraced the gospel message, but nobody ever gave them that chance? That would be a tragedy to let someone die eternally without ever trying to save them.
Fortunately, it is not our responsibility to make sure others attain salvation. It is only our responsibility to make sure they hear the gospel message. Don’t put any pressure on yourself for results. It is only your job to make sure that people have a choice and they don’t have a choice unless someone tells them about the choice. Matthew 12:50 says that whoever does the will of Jesus’ Father is a brother, sister, or mother of Jesus. That is a family I hope you want to be a part of.
Bio: Happily married, 4 kids, and 0 pets. Enjoy sports, vacations, and romantic comedies. Blood type is A positive. Life Goal: Get as many people in the kingdom as possible.