by Pastor Joe Pullen
Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
MATTHEW 9:35-28, ESV
If you read my last devotional blog post, you read about the significance of Jesus saying the kingdom of God is at hand. Please take a few minutes to check it out if you haven’t — those thoughts are the foundation for today’s devotional.
When Matthew 9 takes place, it was over two years after Jesus said the kingdom of God is at hand, and He’s still preaching that same message – the gospel of the kingdom. How many pastors do you know that could preach the same message for over two years and still grow the crowd? I’m pretty certain I couldn’t do that. It must have been vital for Jesus to stay on that message so consistently. Why did He do that?
I believe that Jesus wanted people to think differently about life on earth. Jesus was born a man and grew up like the rest of us. At 30, He was baptized and the Holy Spirit descended on Him. After that, He began caring for people through miracles and the power of His Word. In this passage of Matthew, He’s at it again, preaching the kingdom and healing every disease and affliction. But what comes next is even more mind blowing to me.
Jesus told the disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers. After they did, Jesus sent His disciples out with these instructions:
Proclaim as you go, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.
MATTHEW 10:7-8, ESV
Notice what He did here because it’s easy to miss. He called His disciples to go do exactly what they had seen Him do: preach the kingdom gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. This is how the kingdom grows: through disciples doing what Jesus did through the power of the Holy Spirit.
As followers of Jesus, we too have been instructed AND empowered to go where Jesus went, say what Jesus said, and do what Jesus did, as we love like Jesus loved!
Jesus has entrusted to us the greatest mission ever – to make disciples all over the world. Have you embraced His call to be a disciple-maker? If you do, you will quickly find that the power of the Holy Spirit will empower you to do all that He’s asked of you and you will be able to do accomplish anything for the sake of the gospel.
Embrace it, knowing the full power of heaven has been given to you to do whatever He’s asked you to do.
Would you be so brave to ask God to reveal to you someone who needs the gospel of the kingdom, and then go and share it with them? Would you use the power that Jesus has given to you to heal the sick and afflicted around you? It might just be the most rewarding thing you ever do.