Monday, March 21, 2011

Matthew 10:1-15


Jesus sends out the twelve disciples. It is no coincidence that there are 12 disciples. Israel was made up of 12 tribes. So as Jesus gathers 12 disciples around him it is obvious to Jewish readers that he is making a statement about the continuity of what he is doing with what God had done through Israel.

Jesus gives these disciple authority and sends them out announce the kingdom. If I was one of the 12 I know that I would feel in over my head. But Jesus trusts these people that he has gathered to represent him. God only knows why. They are just ordinary people, human beings with flaws and issues like the rest of us. Yet God mysteriously works this way, willing to draw us into his mission in the world.

I am really enjoying reading a commentary on Matthew by Stanley Hauerwas at the moment (as you can probably tell from previous posts) so I can’t help but give you a wee gem from his section on Matthew 10. Hauerwas says this:

“ …the way the gospel is known is by one person being for another person the story of Christ. Jesus summons the disciples to him, and so summoned, they become for us the witnesses who make it possible for us to be messengers of the kingdom. The disciples are not impressive people, but then, neither are we. Their mission, as well as our own, is not to call attention to ourselves but to Jesus and the kingdom.”

(Excerpt from Stanley Hauerwas, SCM Theological Commentary on the Bible: Matthew (London: SCM, 2006), 106.

Isn’t that true. In the same way the disciples are called to announce the kingdom we are called to also. Remember earlier in Matthew when John the Baptist came preaching that the kingdom was near? John wasn’t concerned with calling attention to himself; rather he spent his time pointing towards Jesus. That is what we as followers of Jesus are called to do: to point away from ourselves towards Jesus. There is no self-gain involved, that is why Jesus reminds the disciples that the message is free! Not everyone will like this message, yet we are still called to be witnesses to it. This Lent, let us pray that we may be representatives of Jesus wherever we may go.

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