The Twelve are sent out on a mission with instructions.
- Keep the mission in the Jewish territory of Galilee. The lost sheep of Israel need to hear this message first.
- Preach the same message Jesus preaches: the kingdom of heaven is near.
- Demonstrate the kingdom the same way Jesus does: healing, exorcising, even raising the dead.
- Do this without payment. Accept basic subsistence hospitality, but no more.
- Travel downscale. Don’t give the impression that following Jesus makes life good or easy.
- Bless the house or town that accepts you.
- Make tracks from the house or town that doesn’t.
The Twelve are authorized representatives of Jesus. Matthew is writing to a church that also is authorized by Jesus to represent him. This list of instructions is pretty interesting, in that it defines how to do the mission.
- We have lost the message today. We don’t preach that the kingdom of heaven is near. We preach that you personally can be saved. We’ve lost the bigger focus. Thus, we have lost the true gospel.
- We have lost the demonstration today. We try to demonstrate that coming to Jesus will make your life better and clean you up. You can live like a child of the king.
- We have lost the focus on ministry over money. The church is big business today. The pastor is a CEO. The physical buildings are impressive and imposing.
- Thus, we have lost the going and are given over to an attractive model of ministry. Come to us, and you can be part of this big, exclusive club that meets in this building.
- We have lost bring a blessing to our community. We keep the blessing for ourselves.
We could clean things up quite a bit. It’s not too late. But it’s very difficult.
We don’t have to live like first century beggars, but we have gone too far.