“A Word for this Week” Pastor Bill Mugnolo: Pastoral Advisor
Week of June 19-25, 2017: “Continue My Redemption” … Matthew 9:35-38
He could have done it all by Himself—and, for awhile, that’s what Jesus did. He preached, taught, and brought healing, to a people who, spiritually, were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:35-36). But Jesus wasn’t meant to be a “one man show” as the time had come for Him to delegate this ministry to His twelve closest followers. They too would now preach, teach, and heal as they would proclaim, “The kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 10:1,7).
Yes, He could have done it all by Himself. But that was never meant to be His ongoing plan. Just as He once delegated to us the continuing of His work of creation (Genesis 1:28), He now delegates to us the task of continuing His work of redemption. He alone redeemed us by His dying and rising for the sins of the world. But we have been commissioned to continue His work as we look to make disciples of all nations as we bring to them that message that God’s kingdom is near (Matthew 28:18-20).
“Continue my redemption”, Jesus says—both to you and to me. As we do, we are sent out into a world filled with people who, like in Jesus’ day, are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” They are being lured in, like straying sheep, into a secular worldview that says that God doesn’t matter, we can live apart from the boundaries of His Law, and that life is all about our own selves and how much “stuff” we can acquire. As a fairly recent expression puts it, “He who dies with the most toys, wins.” But the truth is that he who dies with the most toys still dies.
Into such a dying world we are sent. We go into it, as Jesus says, “like sheep among wolves” (Matthew 10:16). The task is daunting and its all too tempting to twist the words of Isaiah 6:8 and say, “Here am I … send him, send her.” Like the world to which we are sent into, we too “are like sheep who have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6a).
But in the second part of that verse, we can rejoice that “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity (sin) of us all.” Again, his dying and rising was the one work that He could delegate to no one else. Because He once shared in our death, we now share in His abundant life (John 10:10)—and the more we know of His life, the more we become willing to share it. It becomes a “want to” not a “have to”. Like Isaiah, we too will say, “Here am I, send me” as we go out and continue Our Lord’s work of redemption.