Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Gospel reading for this Sunday shows Jesus’ concern for “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6, ESV). The children of God’s promise do matter to the Lord. He initially tells his disciples to pray that the Lord would send workers. He then sends his twelve, also known as apostles. Even Judas, the betrayer, is sent by Jesus.
What is the message of these twelve? God’s kingdom is present. In the culture where I live, people who hear a message such as this are highly likely to expect conflict. They will anticipate a message of hostility. They have seen too many alleged preachers beat them about the head with the demands of the Law. Sadly, some false teachers can even use the good news of the Gospel like a baseball bat can be used to end a disagreement.
The twelve are nothing like that. They do miracles, but they are not miracles of condemnation. They heal the sick, cast out demons, even raise the dead. They give back to the community.
This is heart and center of the healing work of the Church. Certainly God makes demands. The people we are sent to are lost. However, we reach to the lost using words of healing. We reach out showing that Jesus wishes to reconcile people to himself. We reach to others, letting them know that Jesus will not leave them entrapped in their former lives.
Christians, then, do tell of God’s demands. But we bring the message that Jesus has done what is required to keep God’s demands. Our role is to believe him and allow him to graciously wash us and restore us. This is true good news.
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