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Letter Forty

Imagine you were one of the women followers of Jesus during his three-year ministry on earth. What would it be like as you heard his teachings, walked by his side, and watched his ministry?

Dear sister,

Last letter I told you how confused I was when Jesus told us to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field. Well now I know what he means. His disciples are the workers!

Jesus told his twelve chosen disciples that he has given them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

I looked at each of their faces as Jesus gave them specific instructions to go out in pairs on their first mission. Peter seemed so excited that he could hardly keep himself from running off before he got the full instructions. A few like Thomas were murmuring that they did not think it was a good idea. I guess they did not feel ready yet. Some seemed frightened and were reluctant to go. Others were nervous but willing and asked Jesus many questions. Our Lord was very patient and persistent with all of them.

Jesus told them to only go to the “lost sheep of Israel.” Surprisingly, he told them not to take money, food, a bag, or extra clothes or sandals. They are to go into towns and seek out someone who will take them in and provide for them. If those in the town do not welcome them, they are to “shake the dust off their feet” and leave. I can see why the disciples were nervous. Obedience to this calling takes great faith. Jesus told them to preach that the Kingdom of heaven is near, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons, heal many kinds of diseases, and raise people from the dead! This is challenging enough, but then he let them know that some officials may have them flogged and arrested. However, Jesus assured them that the Spirit of God will give them the words to say when they are being persecuted. As the men left for their first mission, I was afraid for them. But Jesus’ words comforted me.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of the Father. And even the very hairs of your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Though Jesus sent them out for a short trip, his instructions were clear that he was calling them to commit the rest of their lives to continue the work that Jesus has begun. His exact words were this: “I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” I am not sure what he means as the Son of Man is already here. Maybe that means that Jesus will become the King of Israel after the disciples have gone to every town and village of our people.

The men have been gone a few days now. We women stayed behind to continue to serve our Master. We also are daily praying together for the disciples’ ministry. I wonder if later, we too will be called to preach, heal the sick, and cast out demons. I can’t wait to hear the disciples’ testimonies when they come back!

Excitedly awaiting their return,

your Big Sister

Today’s Bible Reading: Matthew 10; Mark 6:7-12; Luke 9:1-6; Matthew 28:18-20

Today’s Application:

Is God asking you to do something that requires courage and great faith? Know that He will protect and provide for you. As we read in Matthew 10:31, “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Jesus has given all of us the authority and the command to make disciples of all nations (see Matthew 28:18-20). We are to be bold witnesses for Christ. Just as Jesus assured the disciples, we can be confident that God will give us the words to say when we need it (see Matthew 10:19-20).

Jesus said some hard words to hear in Matthew 10:37-39. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” As we see in other Scriptures, this does not mean that we should not love and honor our parents. It does mean that we are to be obedient first to God’s Word and His calling to serve Him. At times, our parents may not agree with our activities of service to God. However, if you pray and God makes it clear that you are to do something or go somewhere for Him, you must obey. If you are a parent and your adult child feels called to serve God in a certain way or place, you should surrender to God’s will and give your child your blessing and prayers. Jesus calls us to a sacrificial life. We are on this earth to worship God, to fulfill His Kingdom purpose, and to glorify the Lord. “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39).

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