When Jesus sent out the 12 Apostles, He gave them His marching orders.
Why did he send them out, including Judas Iscariot who would later betray Him?
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I think it was to trust Him.
But I also think they needed to learn something – what to be joyful about.
Jesus gave the Apostles “authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”
He also told them to take nothing with them and to stay at a house that welcomed them.
Where did the trust come from?
In Matthew 10:16 and following Jesus said, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.”
To me it sounds like He was setting them up for failure.
But continue reading in Matthew 10:19-20. Jesus gave them the tools to succeed.
He said, “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
I wonder if He is also speaking to us today.
Sometimes I get emails from folks who don’t agree with what I’m saying.
I don’t expect people to agree with everything I write, especially if it’s wrong. I try hard not to be in error, but it happens. And I try to answer those emails.
Sometimes I think answering them is just a waste of time and they are pulling my chain.
And sometimes I have no idea what they are talking about.
But enough of that, let’s get back to Matthew 10.
Jesus said some other things before He said, “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.”
In Luke 9 Jesus also sent out the Apostles and it was basically the same things we find in Matthew 10.
In Luke 10, after the Apostles returned, Jesus also sent 72 other disciples. Basically, He gave them the same marching orders, including healing the sick. And though it’s not listed, Jesus told them that even demons would submit to them.
When the 72 returned with joy, they were very excited and told Jesus, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
They weren’t Apostles but they cast out demons. You can bet they were excited.
And so was Jesus.
He said, beginning in Luke 10:18: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
Jesus was also excited. We’re told Jesus was “full of joy through the Holy Spirit,” in Luke 10:21.
It was an exciting time, all around. But we’re also told in Luke 10:20 what the disciples should be most excited about.
“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
I believe we should feel that way today. I’ve been a part of a church that got very excited about numbers. True, numbers are also important to Jesus but the most important thing is that our names are written in heaven.
I pray that I’m always excited to have my name listed in heaven.
What could be more exciting than that?
Rick Reed is a columnist who lives in Mount Dora. To reach him call (352) 383-1458 or email him at RICOH007@aol.com. If you can’t get enough of Rick Reed see his blog at rickreed.co.
This article originally appeared on Daily Commercial: Being excited to see your name listed in Heaven