66. And when He had come into the house, the blind man came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” -Matthew 9:29 Context: Matt. 9:27-31
Jesus is still asking us that question today, “Do you believe He is able to do this?” “This” does not mean a nice car or a coke and a smile, but that He who controls the sea, the heavenly realm and death will act in your best interest when you trust Him to. The key to faith is the object of the faith! And Jesus is God the Son, able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him (Hebrews 7:25). Do YOU believe that your Jesus can meet every need in your life? Are you trusting Him even when He says ‘no’ to your prayer now so He can give you a greater ‘yes’ to come? Hat tip to Beth Moore, who has said, “Whenever God says no, it’s for a greater yes!” If you have struggled with having faith, remember the key is not you at all, but the object of your faith – and the only One worthy of total faith and trust is God! Place your faithy unreservedly in Jesus!
67. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” -Matthew 9:37-38 Context: Matthew 9:35-38
Won’t you join in prayer that Christian laborers will be raised up for the harvest of souls in our own churches, communities, country, and around the world? It is our privilege as believers to pray for the raising up of harvest laborers, and to pray for those actively engaged in the harvest! But be careful! After Jesus asked the 12 and others gathered to pray for harvest workers, in chapter 10 He sent them out as harvesters! Essentially all believers are called to be doing their part in the harvest! This starts right in their own churches! As each member uses their talents and spiritual gifts and does their individual part, were told that grows the body (Ephesians 4:16). As the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and the book of Acts demonstrates, the church is the primary vehicle God gave us to reach harvest fields. This of course means that churches need to be vigilant in not focusing inward to the neglect of our outward responsibilities. The New Testament models a large amount of inward growth coming from outward focus on the harvest fields within us as we attempt to reach our own church children, around us in our community as we reach out, and all the way to the end of the earth! Pray for harvest workers; Be a harvest worker!
68. Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. -Matthew 10:16 Context: Matthew 10:16-17
Sheep are known for their dependence upon their shepherd. When they stray, they need to be corralled; when they fall down, they have to be helped up. Wolves are known for making meals of sheep. Here in breaking with the sheep analogy, Jesus tells believers to keep the innocence of sheep and doves, but to be “wise as serpents.” We need to be careful as Christ’s followers to keep our innocence by not becoming jaded and cynical about people’s motives, thus discouraging any efforts to help them physically and spiritually. But we also need the common sense of the serpent as we are “sent out” to help people. Here’s an example of what this might look like: You and a Christian friend are walking down the road and a man asks for help so he can get a meal. If you give the man money, he may very well go and spend the money on alcohol or drugs, in which case you have not helped him at all. A wiser course of action is the get gifts cards to a fast food restaurant and gas stations in advance, and be ready to give them out along with a gospel tract like the kinds your church puts out to use. Another aspect of wisdom is to remember that often times scriptures teach us some of the how to go with the what. The what is that Jesus gave us the parable of the Good Samaritan, where the one man helped the other, bidding us to help people of all backgrounds. The how is that Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs to meet needs, not alone. When two believers or more are meeting needs together, they often avoid the mistakes we make when we reach out alone. The times we do reach out alone, like Philip with the Ethiopian (Acts 8), those should be the exception to the practice of reaching out together!
69. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given you in that hour what they should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. -Matthew 10:19-20 Context: Matthew 10:17-20
The context of a passage must always be remembered: the 12 disciples had been sent out on this mission to their lost countrymen. Some have used this verse to say that when you are completely unprepared to witness to somebody, God will give you the words to say. But this text specifically refers to the times when believers will be standing in front of hostile governing authorities and questioned for their message and their mission. It is a fair application to say that in times like that God will be with you and will help you know how to “defend yourself” in a way that brings Jesus glory! Elsewhere we are told to study to show ourselves approved, and also to always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us. So do adequately study the Scriptures and the culture you are witnessing in order to adequately share the gospel. But don’t have anxiety about what you will say in the myriads of ways you can be harassed and persecuted for sharing the gospel. In those moments the faithful child of God will be assisted from Heaven!
70. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell. -Matthew 10:28 Context: Matt. 10:28-33
We often are afraid of what other people think when we share the gospel with them. We ask ourselves, “Will they still like me? Will they think I’m a freak? Will they punch me in the nose? Will I lose my job?” In keeping with the context here, we recognize that Christians then and around the world were also asking, “will they arrest me?” or “will they kill me?” Fear is natural, but remember that God’s love inside of the believer is supernatural! We all need to be more concerned about what God thinks than what man thinks! Persecutors once told a Christian, “If you do not stop talking about Jesus, I am going to kill you!” The Christian said, “You can’t kill me, because I’m already dead! Jesus now lives in my heart, and if you take my life, you’ll be doing me a favor, because you’ll just be sending me to spend eternity with Jesus!” The Persecutor was struck in that moment by the power of God to have a man respond that way, and he and others trusted Christ that very day because they wanted what that man had – something (really Someone) to live and die for!