Tender Shepherd, thank You that You came after me. Let me now be as You were in the world.
Read: Matthew 9:35-10:16
 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.  These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called 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 Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.  These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.  Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.  As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.  “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts- no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep.  Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave.  As you enter the home, give it your greeting.  If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.  If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.  Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.  “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
Reflect: How does Jesus call his disciples to respond first?
We know that mission is important, but we are often unsure about where to start. This mission (ch. 10) began with Jesus noticing and caring about the need (9:36) and alerting his friends to pray (9:37,38). If the Lord has called your attention to a particular person or group, pray for them. Through prayer God prepares our hearts and minds to care for people the way he does. Prayer prepares us to go out (9:37; 10:1,5).
Jesus instructed his disciples to do exactly what he had been doing. We don’t need to re-invent mission. We are to do what Jesus did: tell people that God’s Kingdom is close–the King is here–and offer his restoration (7,8). We sometimes hesitate to get on with what Jesus has asked us to do because we assume we need special qualifications or equipment. The disciples were encouraged to trust God to give them what they needed to do the job (9-11).
We also need to be prepared for a variety of responses (11-16). Rejection will come our way, but that does not mean that we give up on mission, but rather that we move on to someone who may be ready to hear.
Prepare yourself for action. Pray. Tell those you encounter about the love of God. Expect miracles.
Give me Your words of life, and the courage to speak those words with boldness.