Now we enter into a self-identified passage of missional intent and direction by Jesus, often called the “missionary discourse.” Matthew 9:35-11:1 is our passage, and we’ll break it down into manageable units for a few days. I begin with 9:35-10:4.
1. Missional Jesus participates in the mission of God.
2. Missional Jesus therefore prays to God for “extenders” of his mission-working kingdom of God.
3. Missional Jesus prays because missional Jesus is moved by oppression and the need for mercy on so many.
4. Missional Jesus not only prays but, after hearing from God (isn’t this implicit?), he specifically identifies 12 workers for the kingdom and appoints them as his personal representatives (apostles) in the kingdom missional work.
5. Missional Jesus appoints his “extenders” (“missioners” is a nice word) to do what he has been doing in Matthew, chps 8 and 9: they are therefore extenders of Jesus and not doers of their own mission. Missional work is Jesus work.
6. Not all of Jesus’ “extenders” follow Jesus faithfully.
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 evil 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.