Read Matthew 9:35 - 10:8:
In the reading from Matthew we feel Jesus’ fondness and longing for the people, whom he describes as harassed and disturbed, agitated and without peace.
He urges his disciples to join him in praying earnestly for more workers in the harvest, knowing that God will be dependant on human cooperation and availability to accomplish the healing and gathering in. That is just as true for us today as it was then, and we need to take Jesus’ urgency to heart. True religion is being at peace with God, and the absence of that peace is obvious in our society.
Immediately after this the twelve are sent out, in the role of ambassadors, to proclaim the kingdom of God and accompany the news with signs of healing. All the detailed instructions they are given point to a loving commitment which is total and without ambition, personal gain or personal comforts.
That still needs to be our attitude as the Church, so that our motives are transparent and uncluttered by sub-agendas or empire-building. We are called simply to love people into the kingdom, where they can know the joy and hope of being at peace with God.
The Church exists to make more followers of Jesus Christ.
When eleven men set out to evangelise the world, we may well wonder how on earth they did it.
Within ten years of the death of Jesus, the gospel about him had reached Alexandria and Antioch, the greatest cities in Africa and Asia. It even reached Rome which was the capital city of the world at that time. The message spread like wildfire throughout the whole empire.
Evangelism was clearly a priority among those first followers of Jesus.
‘What is evangelism?’
I have so many thoughts in my mind,
so many competing voices:
I hear the news,
I hear the latest music and songs,
I hear about the latest fashions and trends.
I hear so much about the world,
changes, initiatives, new businesses,
climate change, carbon footprint.
I watch films, TV,soaps and comedy programmes,
re-runs of Friends,
sport, the latest match and my side,
the current competition.
I ask you God:
to quieten these other voices down,
to still my mind,
to open a new path;
for your voice, your Word,
to be a strong voice for me this day.