Tuesday, December 28, 2021
The Twelve Harvest Hands
10 1-4 The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered. Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives. This is the list of the twelve he sent:
Simon (they called him Peter, or “Rock”),
Andrew, his brother,
James, Zebedee’s son,
John, his brother,
Matthew, the tax man,
James, son of Alphaeus,
Simon, the Canaanite,
Judas Iscariot (who later turned on him).
5-8 Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
-Matthew 10:1-8 The Message
The Twelve Disciples; Instructions for Service
10 Verse 1: Jesus summoned His twelve disciples, gave them authority over unclean spirits, cast them out, and healed every disease and sickness.
Verse 1 study: Jesus called his 12 disciples. He didn’t draft them, force them or ask them to volunteer. He left the option to them. He chose them to serve him uniquely. Christ does call on us. He doesn’t force us or make us do what we don’t want to. We have an option to join or remain behind. How do you respond when Christ calls on you?
Verse 2: Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; and James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Verse 3: Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
Verse 3 study: Bartholemew is probably another name for Nathanael. We met him in John 1:45-51. Thaddeus is also known as Judas, son of James.
Verse 4: Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who also betrayed Him.
Verse 4 study: Simon, the Zealot, may have been a member of the Zealots, a radical political party working for the violent overthrow of Roman rule in Israel.
Verses 2-4 studies: The list of the 12 doesn’t give a lot of details. One reason could be that there aren’t many unusual details to share. If you notice, Jesus calls people from very different backgrounds, such as fishermen, politicians, tax collectors, non-leaders. He called on everyday people, rich or poor, educated or uneducated. Many people think that only certain people are fit to follow Christ. That is not true, as Jesus doesn’t have that attitude. God can use anyone, no matter what. When you feel small and useless, God uses ordinary people to do his extraordinary work.
Verse 5: These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them, saying, “Do not go on a road to Gentiles, and do not enter a city of Samaritans;
Verse 6: but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Verse 5-6 studies: Jesus didn’t send any of the disciples to the Gentiles or Samaritans, possibly for a few reasons. A Gentile is not a Jew, and the Samaritans were a race that resulted in marriages between the Jews and Gentiles after the Old Testament captivities (2 Kings 17:24). Jesus did ask for the disciples to only go to the Jews because he came first to the Jews (Romans 1:16). God picked them to tell the rest of the world about him. Jewish disciples and apostles preached the gospel of the risen Christ all around the Roman empire. The Gentiles were pouring into the church. The Bible clearly states that God’s message of salvation is for everyone, regardless of race, sex, or national origin (Genesis 12:3, Isaiah 25:6; 56:3-7, Malachi 1:11, Acts 10:34, 35; Romans 3:29, 30; Galatians 3:26).
Verse 7: And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’
Verse 7 study: The Jews were waiting to be ushered into his kingdom by the Messiah. They hoped for a political and military kingdom that would free them from Roman rule and bring the glory days back under David and Solomon. Jesus was talking about a spiritual kingdom. The Kingdom is still at hand today. Jesus already started his kingdom on earth in the hearts of his followers. The kingdom will be fully realized when evil is destroyed, and all people will live in peace with one another.
Verse 8: Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.
Verse 8 study: The disciples got a principle guide given by Jesus to guide their actions when ministering to others. “Freely you received, freely given.” God showered us with His blessings; we should give our time to others and our love and possessions.
Mark 3:13-15; 6:7; Matthew 9:35, Luke 9:1
Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13
John 1:43; 11:16, 14:5; 20:24; 21:2; Matthew 9:9; Mark 15:40; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13
Matthew 26:14; Luke 22:3; John 6:71
Luke 9:52; 10:33; 17:16; John 4:9, 39; 8:48; acts 8:25
Our calling comes at any time from you. I pray today that we can answer your call with grace, wisdom, and encouragement. Thank you for guiding us through our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.