Jesus Has Pity on People
35 Jesus went to every town and village. He taught in their synagogues and preached the good news about God's kingdom. Jesus also healed every kind of disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. They were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “A large crop is in the fields, but there are only a few workers. 38Ask the Lord in charge of the harvest to send out workers to bring it in.”
Jesus Chooses His
(Mark 3.13-19; Luke 6.12-16)
1Jesus called together his twelve disciples. He gave them the power to force out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and sickness. 2The first of the twelve apostles was Simon, better known as Peter. His brother Andrew was an apostle, and so were James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. 3Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were also apostles. 4The others were Simon, known as the Eager One, and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus.
(Mark 6.7-13; Luke 9.1-6)
5Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions:
Stay away from the Gentiles and don't go to any Samaritan town. 6Go only to the people of Israel, because they are like a flock of lost sheep. 7 As you go, announce that the kingdom of heaven will soon be here. 8Heal the sick, raise the dead to life, heal people who have leprosy, and force out demons. You received without paying, now give without being paid. 9Don't take along any gold, silver, or copper coins. 10 And don't carry a traveling bag or an extra shirt or sandals or a walking stick.
Workers deserve their food. 11So when you go to a town or a village, find someone able and willing to have you as their guest and stay with them until you leave. 12When you go to a home, give it your blessing of peace. 13If the home is deserving, let your blessing remain with them. But if the home doesn't accept you, take back your blessing of peace. 14 If someone won't welcome you or listen to your message, leave their home or town. And shake the dust from your feet at them. 15 I promise you the day of judgment will be easier for the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
Jesus’ compassionate assessment of the people he encountered was that they were “confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” To multiply the number of people reached during his ministry on earth, he delegated twelve of his closest followers to engage in spiritual work similar to his own.
At their commissioning, he told them to leave without the usual preparations. They were not to take money, a bag of provisions, or even extra clothing or footwear – not even a walking stick. Jesus told them, “Workers deserve their food.” Though they weren’t to charge for any of the benefits they brought to the people, they were to receive their freely-given gifts and provisions.
By not providing for themselves and consequently having to live in the homes of the villagers they preached to, the disciples could discern between those who accepted their message and those who rejected it. On the streets, listening to the disciples preach about the kingdom of heaven and watching them do miracles, many, if not all, would appear to be interested and disposed to believe.
However, in the privacy of a home, sitting near the cooking fire and engaging in quiet conversation, the truth would come out. The disciples would know if the people truly believed their message or if they were merely impressed with the demonstration of God’s power. They would know whether or not their faith was “the real deal”.
Jesus was always concerned with heart change not merely behaviour that could be faked. He had the advantage of being able to read the hearts and minds of people directly. His disciples would have to get close to people to ascertain their reaction to the truth. A public response, even a dramatic one, is of no value if it is not accompanied by inner reality.
Father in heaven, I confess that sometimes I do things to appear good in front of people that I want to think favourably of me. I commit myself to developing my faith so that my outward actions reflect my relationship with you, without caring about the opinions of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.