As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near’ (Mt 10:7)
When Jesus sent out his apostles, he doesn’t seem to have given them a very developed sermon outline to preach. They don’t have a developed mission strategy, and they’re sent to proclaim good news to those who’ll listen and to those who won’t.
They have a message to speak; not about individuals’ response to God, with repentance and faith, but an objective one. The good news is that the kingdom has come near – what we do about that is then between God and us. But what would that kingdom coming near mean inWednesfield, rather than Galilee? Behind the scenes Jesus may have told his disciples a bit more about how to answer the inevitable questions. He may just have relied on the fact that they’d seen what happened when the kingdom came near.
- Paralysed people were forgiven and then helped to walk (9:2-8).
- Pharisees and sinners were invited to sit at the same table (9:9-13).
- Good religious people were encouraged to celebrate life with God, and to rethink what it meant to be religious in the first place (9:14-17).
- A family’s tragedy was undone, and death robbed of its power, but not before a suffering woman in middle age was helped and spoken to (9:18-26)
- Spiritual powers that kept people trapped were defeated and dispelled (9:32-34)
- Even Jesus realised that he couldn’t do it all himself – this was going to need what would become the church (9:35-37)
So it’s perhaps not surprising that when Jesus sent his disciples out, he said more about how they were to explain the kingdom by their actions than by their words (10:7-14).
What can my actions be today, to show that heaven is nearer to earth than we might think?