In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus talks of teaching his Apostles; of getting them ready to do the work that will need to be done by them when he is no longer with them. He had been going to all the cities and villages and preaching in their synagogues; proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, curing every disease and sickness; and he had compassion on the many people who responded to him. But there were many more who needed that ministry.
So, he went to the Twelve he had chosen and said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few ...; And he gave them instruction, and authority to cast out unclean spirits, and to cure disease and sickness; to do what he had been doing, so that many more could be healed, and they could learn of God’s love; and then he sent them out.
He said to them, “As you go, proclaim the good news, the Kingdom of Heaven has come near. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleans the leper, cast out demons. He cautioned them, also, “I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
The Apostles learned, and then when the time came, they taught, and others went out and offered the Good news. After the Crucifixion, and the resurrection and the wondrous ascension, they went forward into all the nations and took God’s message to all the corners of the Earth.
Paul took it to Greece and Rome. Thomas walked to India. James went to Spain. John went north to Turkey. All of them with the sureness of what they had been taught, and learned; all of them with what they had seen took the message of God’s love out into the world; and one day it came to you.
Some of you have been churchmen almost all of your lives. Some for just a short time; but the message has reached you because someone loved you enough to tell you the story of Jesus Birth at a Christmas time. Someone may have told you of how His light came forth at Epiphany. Another might have told you of the healings Jesus did as he traveled south from Galilee; or you might have been told of the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000; or walking on water in the middle of a stormy sea; someone brought that news to you.
And then you were made aware of the bad news; of Jesus’s arrest and trial. When did you learn that story? How did you feel when you heard of his crucifixion and death? Someone brought all of those marvelous stories of God wanting to be in relationship with you, to you. Someone saw to it that you heard of His rising from the dead; His being with Thomas in the room with the others. Maybe you also at one time said, as Thomas once did, “My Lord, and my God.”
If ever you did, or if you can say that simple phrase now, know that it is your turn to take the message out into your world: Love God, and Love your neighbor as yourself. AMEN
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.