Rev. Dr. Niveen Sarras
Matthew 9:35-10:8 [9-23]
June 14, 2020
Who does not want to be like Jesus Christ? He is the role model for a kind and compassionate leader. Our Lord possesses healing power and performs many miracles. He confronts hypocrite, religious leaders, without fear. Our Lord Jesus was executed on the cross, but he rose from the dead; and now he is seated at the right hand of God, the Father. All power and dominions are under his feet. He also has many followers. So, who does not want to be like Jesus? Maybe you will change your mind when I remind you that Jesus was perfect and without sin. All of us are sinners. As long as we live, we will continue to be sinners no matter what. For this reason, God, the Father, sent God the Son to ransom us from the bondage of sin.
None of us is perfect as our Lord Jesus Christ. However, our Lord uses your imperfection and weaknesses to advance his kingdom on earth. Despite your sin and imperfection, you are valuable in God's eyes.
The gospel of Matthew tells us about Jesus choosing his 12 disciples and sending them on a mission. In the gospel of Luke 6:12-13, Jesus spends a whole night in prayer before he appoints his disciples. Let us look at the makeup of the 12 disciples.
Peter: denied him three times and tried to prevent him from dying on the cross.
Judas Iscariot: betrayed him.
Thomas, the twin, and the intellectual disciple might give Jesus a headache by asking him lots of questions, and he doubted his resurrection.
Simon the Cananean or zealot was freedom fighter fighting the Romans and their allies by killing them.
Matthew, the tax collector, worked for the Romans, and the Jews hated the tax collectors.
The brothers James and John had the nickname of "sons of thunder" because they were rough-hewn guys. They could be very aggressive men.
In the night when Jesus was arrested, all his disciples left him a runaway.
Jesus did not surround himself with perfect and ideal disciples but surrounded himself with men who did not enjoy a good reputation. However, the Lord Jesus Transformed them. Jesus entrusts them with the same mission he had from God, the Father. Jesus sends them to preach, teach, and heal. He inducts his disciples and us into the same vocation. Jesus tells the disciples and each one of us, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38, therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (9:37-38).
Jesus had compassion for the crowd (v. 36), which indicates the urgency of the disciples' mission. He needs workers in his field now. The work and the mission of the disciples and us entail healing and liberation. The sign of the kingdom of heaven is of healing and liberation. Our calling is to proclaim the good news: "The kingdom of heaven has come near.' 8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment" (10:7-8). These are the work that Jesus did, and he invites you to do the same work. In this sense, you are Jesus Christ to those who need to hear the good news.
Jesus cast out demons from people. He liberates people from Satan and all the powers that constrained them and prevented them from living their lives abundantly. This is your vocation, too. You are called to liberate people from their suffering and bondage and offer them healing. Our vocation and calling as followers of Jesus is to continue the work that Jesus began 2000 years ago. The harvest is still plentiful, and our Lord is still looking for laborers to send to his field to work with him.
Look around you, and you will find many people who need someone to free them from the bondage of socio-economic inequality, human trafficking, homelessness, and many more. You are Jesus Christ to those people, and your neighbor is Jesus Christ to you. When you liberate the disadvantaged, you bring Jesus Christ to them.
You do not need to be the perfect Christian to become like our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord will continue to transform you and guide you to become more like him. Despite your weaknesses, sin, and vulnerable body, our Lord will use you to perform miracles in your life and people's lives. Jesus is still looking for laborers to work in his field. Are you one of his laborers? I pray you are.