Rev Aly Tunstall
Reading: Matthew 9 vs 35 – 10 vs 8
Often, I get asked the question – ‘why do you always talk about Jesus, why don’t you just say God?’ Well, it’s simply because people find it difficult to picture God, and if they do it’s as a bearded old man. But with Jesus, we find it easier, as he has physically walked the earth and the great thing of course is that when we see Jesus – we also see God.
The passage we have today allows us to see not only the heart of Jesus, but the calling he has for our lives. As a minister I have always held that we need to lead by example or to put it another way, don’t expect others to do something we’re not prepared to do ourselves. I think Jesus held with that as well. What we see Jesus doing in this passage, he tells the disciples to go and do as well. As Christians we are also his disciples, therefore, we should also do what he calls us to do – so let’s have a closer look at what this is.
Jesus walks around the villages teaching in the synagogues and preaching the good news that the Kingdom of God is near, and straight away, we see his heart for the people. Verse 36 says:
“As he saw the crowds his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”
Jesus looks at everyone with pity and compassion he has no favourite’s, he doesn’t judge them because they haven’t done things as they should have, he doesn’t get angry with them. He just loves and provides for their needs by sharing the gospel and healing them both spiritually and physically from every kind of disease and sickness.
Then he goes and speaks to his disciples and says: (verse 37-38)
“the Harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in. Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.”
I wonder if you have ever thought about these words. What is the harvest? Is it a field full of corn or strawberries? And why aren’t there enough workers? And who is the owner?
Well no, the harvest isn’t fruit or veg, the harvest is the people and the workers are the men and women of God with God being the owner. Sadly, somethings never change just as in the days that Jesus walked the earth – people were hurting, were sick, needed help and were possessed by demons.
So, that means we should be bringing in the harvest – or in other words going out into the world preaching the Gospel, praying for healing and for people to be released from demons thus enabling others to receive new transformed life in Jesus.
The thing is though that tends to scare us, and we wonder how can God use us? Like I said last week, we worry for all kinds of reasons – that we won’t be able to go out in confidence. But I want to encourage you to read in the book of Judges about Gideon. He was scared and didn’t think he could do what God was calling him to do, but God tells him ‘it’s OK I am with you – I will give you all you need if you put your trust in me in stead of the things of the world’.
If he promises this to Gideon, he also promises the same to us. But to truly trust someone we have to get to know them personally and that means spending time with them. It’s the same with us and God – we have to spend time with him if we want the desire and strength to be a part of furthering his kingdom. As we read the scriptures, through his word, we behold the glory of the Lord Jesus, and as we see him face to face, we are changed. But we must spend time with him. Only that will truly equip us to serve him.
This is what gives us all we need to go and make new workers for God. The amazing thing is he calls us by name as he did with the 12 disciples. And I wonder if you ever think of Jesus speaking your name? That for me is mind blowing. Isaiah 49:16 tells us ‘I can never forget you! I have written your name on the palm of my hands’. How cool is that!!!!
And it doesn’t stop there he also says ‘I’ve given you the authority (10:1) to drive out evil Spirits and to heal every sickness with the instructions, to go to the lost sheep… go and preach that the kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, heal those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases, and drive out demons’
This seems a little scary doesn’t it! I mean how on earth do we go from a Sunday morning service to going into our communities doing all this? Well, we simply do it by drawing close to Jesus, reading his word and allowing him through the power of his Holy Spirit to use us as his vessels so that his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
He always gives us what we need, he never leaves us but we have to trust in him completely. We have to really learn to hear his voice and be ready to pray with others for healing, even if that’s in the street, even if it makes us nervous. If we are going to be the disciples of Jesus we have to follow his lead, we have to be open. If we want to see more added to the family of God, if we want to see our church grow, we have to step out in faith. Jesus will never give us more than we can handle, but if we want to see miracles and changed lives we need to start asking him to give us the opportunities to be where he calls us to be and to do what he calls us to do
The prophet Isaiah says this:
The spirit of the lord is upon me, because he has anointed me, to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the lord’s favour
This is very much for us today here in St Michaels. There is no point in talking the talk if were not walking the walk. We have to take action if we are to see the light of Jesus shining through in what can be a dark world – a world that is full of hurting, neglected people who are ready and in need of a love that is inclusive to all, and that meets the need of all people everywhere.
The passage finishes with Jesus telling his disciples to not carry any gold, silver or copper money, not to carry a beggar’s bag for the trip, no extra cloths or shoes or even a walking stick. Why? Because when we completely trust in God, he will provide for all our needs to do what he is calling us to do.
As men and women of God we have a decision to make. We can either trust in ourselves and do our own thing and see no change, no peace and no justice and leave people unloved, or (and I hope we all choose this) to completely put all our trust in Jesus, do what he is calling us to do by giving generously to those who don’t yet know Jesus what he has generously given to us. And then see the transformation in not only our own lives but in the lives of our family, friends and our community, so that the light of Jesus becomes evident throughout our world.