Matthew 10:1-15

Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.

You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food.

Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. Matthew 10:1-15

The first of five long teaching sections in Matthew, commonly called “discourses”, was the Sermon on the Mount. Here chapter ten begins the second teaching section, the Missionary Discourse. Let me warn you – if you are looking for a nice cushy comfortable Christianity that warms your heart and helps you feel good, you are either going to ignore what Jesus has to say or you will come away feeling chastised and challenged.

It begins by defining the mission to include naming and casting out unclean spirits and curing every disease and sickness. While a quick reading might seem to limit this work to exorcists and faith healers I think it goes much deeper than that. If the ultimate goal of Jesus is redemption and reconciliation – the healing of broken relationships that were clearly at the heart of the Sermon on the Mount – then we ought to expand our sense of what constitutes “unclean spirits” and “disease and sickness” to include anything and everything that would divide people from one another, or cut people off from access to the love of God and human community.

Then Jesus names the twelve disciples he has chosen to join him in his work. A quick reading here might suggest that Jesus would have benefited from a more robust Human Resources Department in making these hires. Two sets of brothers. Fishermen. A despised tax collector. The one who would ultimately betray him. We’re heard this time and time again but have we every really HEARD it? Not one person on that list was a religious professional, a Jewish scholar, or a person of political or religious prominence. No one had a track record as a faith healer or previous experience as an exorcist. Rather than assembling a dream team, Jesus surrounded himself with his own target audience. The only thing that united them was Jesus.

Then he sends them out with nothing but the challenge to live by the support that would turn up when they needed it and the warning that they would be vigorously opposed. Strange, isn’t it, that anyone would oppose casting out unclean spirits or healing diseases? Unless we took the more expansive understanding of this mission that I suggested earlier.

Watch for that as we listen to this chapter this week.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, in our baptisms you have named and claimed us as your disciples. You challenged us that day, and every day since, to walk in the path that you chose. Yet far too often we get caught by voices that beckon us toward different, easier, less challenging paths. Teach us, as you taught those first disciples, to trust you and to follow as you lead the way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

PS. I’m glad to say that I came through my open heart surgery last Wednesday just fine. After one miserable night in ICU and two nights in the hospital Kelley brought me home on Saturday. Now I’m looking at a couple of weeks of resting, walking, and healing up. Thank you all for your support. I don’t know if this surgery will fix my heart but it certainly has changed my appreciation for what people go through when they go through something like this. It was my first hospital stay and it was a doozy.

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7 Responses to “Matthew 10:1-15”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I am glad your surgery was successful. Praying your recovery is as well.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I have always thought of you as having an open heart. But not in a medical sense, rather as a giving and loving person. Now I will be praying for your human heart, that it can recover and give you a full life. Blessings to you, Rev Kerry!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    May God bless you’re healing process. In Christ’s name!!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Good news of your medical healing Kerry. May your first hospital confinement also be your last!

  5. Arnold J Reah Says:

    You are a blessing to many of us who read and meditate on your devotions. May God give you complete healing.

  6. Julie A Starks Says:

    Thank-you for your messages of reality! Of discovery and especially updates on how you are doing. I have been reading your thoughts since the early 90’s and share many of the devotions with others. May we all bring in “the other” and reach out to learn and heal.

  7. curso alongamento de cilios sp Says:

    Esclarecimentos bem como encomendas, clique na imagem. http://www.mgshizuoka.net/yybbs-NEW/yybbs.cgi?list=thread

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