01/14

January 14

Matthew 10:1-20

 

Jesus’ primary mission was the cross and our redemption. Jesus also had the purpose of training disciples to minister underneath His authority and power. After Jesus was resurrected, another purpose of His was to ascend and then give the Holy Spirit. From there, the kingdom would expand and spread around the globe. 

 

As part of their training, Jesus would demonstrate His authority and power. Then we see Jesus delegating His authority to His twelve disciples, sending them out to minister as His representatives. He gave them power to deliver people from devils, or unclean spirits. He also gave them power over all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Keep in mind, Judas was among the twelve, casting out devils and healing the sick; and yet, he will later on betray Jesus, the Messiah, to death. 

 

Jesus sent them to the Jews, whom Jesus affectionately called “the lost sheep.” What does a shepherd do for a lost sheep? Does he expect the sheep to find their way home? No, a shepherd knows he or she will have to go after their sheep. 

 

HOW ARE THEY TO GO AFTER THE SHEEP? 

They go to find the sick and heal them. 

The go to find the lepers and cleanse them.

They go to find the dead and raise them.

They go to the possessed and deliver them.

 

Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give.” Then Jesus immediately instructs the disciples not to take money on their journey. He specifically gave them financial instructions to receive what they needed from the homes they entered. He told them that when they entered a city, to inquire who would be worthy to host them. There is an honor for those who care for leaders in ministry. That honor will cause the person to receive from the ministry gift on the leader. 

 

Not everyone will honor the representative of Christ. If a city or a household does not honor or receive a ministry leader as a representative of God, God will move the leader on to find people who will. Or, for pastors called to a city, God will often remove the church members who do not respect their pastor. If you want to receive from a prophet, honor a prophet. If you want to receive from an apostle, honor the apostle. The same is true for teachers, pastors, and evangelists. The gifting is from God. The anointing is from God. When we honor the representative, we honor the One who sent him or her. If the people disrespected the authority or leadership of His representative, then judgment would fall on that person or on that group of persons. It may seem like a minor offense to disrespect a person, but it is a major wrongdoing to disrespect the God who sent them. This principle can be seen in the story of Ananias and Sapphira, under the new covenant. I have observed this principle in our life and ministry. 

 

Jesus instructed His disciples to pronounce peace on the house that received them, a blessing of perfect wellbeing. Amen, I’ll take some of that! 

 

Genesis 33-35

 

In chapter 33, Jacob and Esau meet. Esau is accompanied by 400 men. Jacob must have been somewhat nervous that his brother could still be angry with him, but Esau runs to meet his younger brother. He embraces him, kisses his neck, and they weep together. Jacob was wise to give Esau a large gift to find favor with Esau. Esau didn’t want Jacob to feel obligated to give a gift, but Jacob urged him. Esau has also grown and was without need. Jacob goes to Canaan. 

 

In chapter 34, we read about Dinah, Jacob’s daughter. Dinah wanted to meet other women in the area, make some friends; after all, she was surrounded by all brothers. We know from the stories of Abraham and Isaac that there was a danger in Canaan for sexual assault and murder. When Dinah went out on her own, a Canaanite man raped her. His name was Shechem, a Hivite, and after raping her, he wanted to take her as his wife. His father Hamor approached Jacob to ask if he would give her to Shechem as a wife. 

 

The brothers were very angry about the rape, calling it “a disgraceful thing in Israel.” This phrase in used elsewhere in Scripture as a strong Hebrew expression for a sin that injures the entire family or community. In verse 31, we also see the sense of honor the brothers felt for their sister. Her brothers devised a plan and deceived Hamor and Shechem. Deceit is a tool used to gain control over people or a situation. Since the fall of mankind, we see deception at work to manipulate one another. The brothers gave this family and their community a condition for marrying Dinah, and that condition was circumcision, a covenant practice for descendants of Abraham. 

 

The men agreed to the circumcision because they wanted Jacob’s wealth. They offered to covenant with Jacob, inviting Jacob’s family to intermarry and become part of their city. It seems that the third day after the cut is when the pain is the worst, so on that day, Simeon and Levi killed all the males, took Dinah, took the women, children, and all their possessions. Jacob was not in on the plan, so when he found out what was done, he was fearful the other inhabitants of the region would come against them.   

 

In chapter 35, the Lord leads Jacob to return to Bethel. In verse 5, it says the terror of God was on the cities that were around them, so they did not come after Jacob’s family after the slaughter of the Hivites. This was not a natural fear, but it was a fear brought on by the Lord to protect the children of Abraham. 

 

Rachel conceived and gave birth to a second son. She died in childbirth, but as she was dying, she named the son after her sorrow, Ben-Oni. However, Jacob, understanding the power of a name, renamed the son, Benjamin, or Son of the Right Hand. The right hand was symbolic of strength and authority. Rachel was buried near Bethlehem. 

 

Prophecy is often given with layers of meaning and fulfillment. In Jeremiah 31:15, we read a prophetic word about Rachel weeping over her children. In this time period, the prophecy refers to descendants of Rachel’s children, Joseph and Benjamin, part of the northern tribes who were going into exile. There was much weeping and sorrow. 

 

This prophecy obviously had another layer of meaning, because it is also quoted in Matthew 2:18 when speaking of the male babies that would die in Ramah as a result of Herod trying to kill Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem. There was much weeping and sorrow, compared to Rachel weeping in sorrow in childbirth in Bethlehem. Was their significance in Jesus being born in Bethlehem? It would appear so. 

 

Going back to Jeremiah 31, if we read the verse in context, we see even more of an unfolding of prophecy, a prophecy that speaks towards future Israel, in the Millennium. The chapter speaks of sorrow for Israel, their scattering among nations, but then it also speaks of comfort, and the Lord says, “I will turn their mourning to joy (Jeremiah 31:13).” This is true for a return to Jerusalem after captivity, but also the return after a Great Tribulation. 

 

REUBEN’S SIN

Reuben had sexual relations with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. Reuben was Leah’s oldest son. Bilhah was Rachel’s maid. Bilhah birthed Reuben’s step brothers, Dan and Naphtali. As a result of this adultery, Reuben lost respect from his father, and lost his firstborn inheritance of a double portion. 

 

At the end of chapter 35, Isaac’s death is recorded. He lived to be 180 years old. Esau and Jacob buried their father together. 

 

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