God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 16 - Matthew 9-10: The Interconnectedness of God and His Chosen Messengers

Today’s Reading: Matthew 9-10

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Jesus wanted to make sure His Chosen Apostles understood their task and who would be behind them.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Jesus forgave a man's sins then healed him, chaffing religious scholars.
Jesus kept company with sinners wanting to help their relationships with God.
Jesus continued healing—unlike anything anyone had seen.
Jesus grieved for the crowds—they needed a leader.
Jesus sent His 12 Apostles to teach and heal. He told them not to be interested in money or luxuries. Any form of rejection was nothing personal—the people rejected God instead. Jesus reminded them how much God cared for them. If they stood up for Him He would stand up for them. Any small act would be rewarded.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Jesus gave power to His Messengers.

Jesus does not send out His Messengers without giving them ways to prove their authority. He wants His Message to be heard.

Jesus wanted His Messengers to focus on spiritual problems.

Jesus saw the confused, searching crowds. He wanted to give them a way to set things right. To help this Message, He wanted His Apostles to not worry about political power, public perception, funding, or their lodging. They were to focus on bringing light to a world of darkness—health to the sick, life to the dead, personhood to the "irrelevants", and comfort to the demon-possessed. Jesus' Messengers should focus on healing spiritual problems. By focusing on spiritual problems we then can affect physical problems better. He did not want big scenes, press conferences or releases, or great fights in the town squares. He wanted His Messengers to be peaceful, proclaiming the Truth and letting It do the work.

People would persecute the Apostles because they rejected God, not because the Apostles were incompetent.

This is a difficult passage to swallow. On one hand, Christians are often too quick to claim persecution. They immediately judge anyone with a differing opinion as rejecting God. On the other hand, people rejecting God's Chosen People because they do not like God is as old as King David. Jesus wanted to make sure the Apostles understood their way would not be cupcakes and ice cream forever. Some people in the world hate God's Chosen People because of God, not His Chosen People. What these people do not realize is that by smearing God's Chosen People others will see how unfair and wrong they are and may decide to set things right with God. Public displays should happen only when God's Chosen People are summoned to defend an unfounded charge.
What does this mean for us today? We must not lose heart when we are persecuted. People want the quickest way to make their lives easier. Jesus' Way is not easy. Setting things right is not easy. Jesus' Way is better. Setting things right is better. People will reject it because they do not want to grow up. Also, it is not our incompetence which prevents the Gospel from being accepted. Don’t be confused—this does not mean we can keep doing what we are doing! If you feel you are setting things right with others without calling attention to yourself, God is pleased. We should not be affected by bullying tactics and we should not be affected by a lack of "success".

God's backing of our work is dependent on our backing of His Work.

After Jesus warns His Messengers they would be persecuted, He reminds them both of their worth to God and their responsibility. God's acceptance of them depended on their acceptance of Him. God's defense of their teachings depended on their defense of His Word. God's Way is not easy. It is not "safe". Yet Jesus gives the ultimate irony,
If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me. (10:39, The Message)
If you wish to find your purpose in life, look to God to point you in the right direction. Only then will you find your true calling.

Any small act will be rewarded as though God did it Himself.

Jesus ended His instructions to the Apostles by helping them understand that they are not alone. Acceptance meant God was accepted. Help given was as good as helped received. The smallest act meant you were on the way to setting things right. Do not be discouraged by large acts others do. God will reward the smallest act of setting things right because it all gives glory to Him.

Do you let God be the one people accept or reject?

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