Genesis 30:25-31:16; Matthew 10:5-23; Psalms 13:1-4; Proverbs 6:1-5
NT: “As you go, proclaim: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you received, freely give. Don’t acquire gold, silver, or copper for your money-belts. Don’t take a traveling bag for the road, or an extra shirt, sandals, or a staff, for the worker is worthy of his food… Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves. Beware of them, because they will hand you over to local courts and flog you in their synagogues. You will even be brought before governors and kings because of me, to bear witness to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you are to speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, because it isn’t you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:7-10, 16-22 CSB)
At first, Jesus speaks to His disciples in present-tense, giving them instructions for the current mission – but then, He switches to speaking of the future and expectations of all who share in His mission. Though part of this is spoken directly to the 12 disciples for the time at hand, Jesus’ core mission is the same today – and will be until the end of this age: proclaim that the kingdom has come, heal the sick, deliver people from the demonic, bring those who are dead to life, freely give as you have freely received. He also warns about using the Gospel to make yourself rich. Instead He says to simply earn what you need as you go. The message of the Kingdom is contrary to the world system. Those who are committed to the world system and/or committed to fulfilling the desires of their flesh will be committed to silencing the message of the kingdom. Therefore it is important to be shrewd, while at the same time maintaining God’s character. You need to be wise to the ways of the world, but not corrupted by the ways of the world. While circumstances described by Christ haven’t fully occurred here in the United States where we still hold (to some degree) that freedom of speech is a right, there are countless places around the world where followers of Jesus are not able to freely speak of the Kingdom. I know people that live in areas like that… and despite the hostility and opposition, they continue to proclaim God’s Kingdom albeit not publicly. Yet, more and more, even in the United States, worldly tolerance for the message of the kingdom is diminishing year by year. Through it all, Christ’s disciples then and now can be comforted by the promise that as we go, Christ will be with us… speaking through us… and if we endure ‘til the end we have the assurance of eternal salvation.