These are some challenging words as Jesus sends out the twelve. He commands them to go with no extra money or personal supplies and says that “the worker is worth his keep.” He tells them he is sending them out like “sheep among wolves.” Now if that didn’t inspire the new charges, it gets worse. “They will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues.” And worst of all, “brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me…” Tough words. Tougher reality. Try that speech at a Bible college graduation.
I think the thing that strikes me most is the small bit of purpose we see in some of their suffering. They were going to be tried, flogged and arrested. But the purpose was to serve as “witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.” It is the heart of God that even the rulers of the nations would hear the truth, but sometime he has to send us there through unconventional means.
This reminds of two others who used unconventional means to reach a people–they sold themselves as slaves:
Two young Moravians heard of an island in the west indies where an athiest British owners had 2000-3000 slaves, and the owner had said, “No preacher, no clergyman will ever step foot on this Island. If he’s shipwrecked we’ll keep him in a separate house until he has to leave, but he’s never going to talk to any of us about God. I’m through with all that non-sense.”
Three thousand slaves from the jungles of Africa brought to an island in the Atlantic and there to live and die without hearing of Christ. Two young Moravians heard about it. They sold themselves to the British planter and used the money to buy passage to the island, for he paid no more than he would pay for any slave and wouldn’t transport them. And as the ship left the pier at the river Hamburg, the Moravians had come to see the two young lads off. Never to return again for this wasn’t a 4 year term. They’d sold themselves into lifelong slavery, simply that as slaves, they could be as Christians where these others were at. The families were there weeping for they knew they’d never see them again. And as the gap widened and the hawsers were being curled up on the pier, and the young boys saw the widening gap. One lad, his arm linked through the arm of his fellow raised his hand and shouted across the gap the last words that were ever heard from them–MAY THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN, RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING. This became the call of Moravian missions, and this is the only reason for being, that the lamb that was slain, may receive the reward of His suffering.
From Paris Reidhead’s Ten Shekels and a Shirt (www.sermonindex.net)
Memorized Matthew 10:5-23 (July 12)
May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering…