“Before the Son of Man Comes”

Comparing the first three Gospels raises questions sometimes, but sometimes the comparisons are helpful, as is the case here in Matthew. In Mark’s and Luke’s accounts, Jesus’ instructions to the Twelve end with the material Matthew reported in the first half of chapter 8. Instead of stopping at this point, however, as Mark and Luke do, Matthew
continues by adding Jesus’ words found in vv.17- 42. These words
are not inappropriate for these first disciples, though they are
different in some respects from what Jesus told them earlier. But
their real application – and the reason Matthew has added to the
material – is for the mission of the disciples and others following
Jesus’ death and resurrection. In other words, the addition is for
us specifically. Continue reading ““Before the Son of Man Comes””

“The Character Christians Should Show”

Matthew 10 teaches what the first preachers of the Gospel were to expect as
they copied Jesus, going out among all the towns and villages preaching the
Good News and healing the people’s diseases. Our first reaction is to
suppose that they should have been well received. Who is more welcome than
bearers of good news? Or those who are able to drive out demons and heal
diseases? But when we remember the way people received Jesus, we know that
presuming a good reception is too facile. Jesus did all these things, but
he was “despised and rejected … a man of sorrows, and acquainted with
grief.” Continue reading ““The Character Christians Should Show””

“The Christian Mission”

There is something very significant about the ordination of a Christian to the ministry, at least if that person has been called to the work by God and takes the call seriously.

In Matthew 10.5-42, we have a record of the first Christian ordination ever to take place. It is a particularly important and solemn one. In this chapter we read about the Lord commissioning the twelve apostles to preach in Galilee. As John Ryle notes, “Never was there so important an ordination! Never was there so solemn a charge!” Continue reading ““The Christian Mission””

“The Action Jesus Took”

At this point we might think we have reached the end of the lessons in the passage (Matthew 9.1 – 10.4), since a need has been perceived and described, and we have been told to pray for a solution: “Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” What more can we do? We have been told to pray, so we pray. That is the end of it. Ah, but it is not. What strikes us at this point is that having instructed His disciples to pray and undoubtedly having prayed Himself, Jesus also took action. He placed “the very men who had been urged to pray that the Lord of the harvest might thrust out laborers into his harvest … in the forefront of these laborers.” Continue reading ““The Action Jesus Took””