Walk by Faith
Rev. Sudha Mehta©
Jesus calls the disciples. Photos from the Jesus Film project
Photo from Son of God movie.
Matthew 10: 5 These twelve Jesus sent forth and commanded them, saying, Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of the heavens has come. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons; freely ye have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold nor silver nor money in your girdles, 10 nor bag for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes nor a staff, for the workman is worthy of his food. 11 And into whatever city or town ye shall enter, search out with diligence who in it is worthy; and there abide until ye go from there. 12 And entering into the house, salute it. 13 And if the house is worthy, your peace shall come upon it; but if it is not worthy, your peace shall return to you. 14 And whosoever shall not receive you nor hear your words, depart out of that house or city and shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of those of Sodom and those of Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.(JB2000)
In this post we will only address verses 9 and 10.
I expect your visit to The Holy Trinity Seminary 2000 years ago in the last post gave you an idea of how and what the disciples went through to get trained. They spent three years with the Master, same as you would if you go to Seminary to get your Master’s Degree. They had one Professor, no one else was needed. He taught them everything. The class was 24/7.
Those that tell you these disciples were ignorant, uneducated fisherman are the true ignoramuses. These men handpicked by Jesus, were raised in the Torah, and lived the Jewish way of life. They made their trips to Jerusalem for the feasts three times a year as the Law required and brought their sacrifices. The men that came from the fishing tradition, (not all the disciples were fishermen) had a family business. In the culture they had joint families or lived close to each other. The fishing business provided a good living for them, they were in no way lacking. They had their own homes, as did Jesus. Ah, yes, many of you did not know that! Jesus had His own home in Capernaum. He traveled a lot speaking, teaching, working miracles, after all He had a short three years of ministry allotted, and a lot to get done.
Jesus made a living as the town carpenter. Whether He built furniture, cabinets or homes, we know not, but He made a living. Small towns had no need for many carpenters, so even if there was another, Jesus was not starving, neither was His family. Joseph, His adoptive earthly father died early, Jesus was the oldest son, and had to provide for His family.
Remember the Magi that came to see the child Jesus? The Bible tells us of the three types of gifts they brought. There is no indication that there were only three Wise-Men, or that they brought a tiny token gift. When wealthy/influential people like that travel, they travel with their entourage. Then and now! Take our important diplomats, whether it is a President, Prime Minister, House speaker, Military General or any other VIP, when they go anywhere to another country, they go as a delegation, and they have an entourage. Lots of security goes with them for their protection.
Likewise when Foreign Dignitaries come to our country, they bring a protective detail with them. They also come bearing gifts for the leaders they meet with. This is just regular protocol.
The Magi Photo from garlandofgrace.org
It was the same then. These Magi came a long way with their own entourage and lots of security. These Wise-Men/Magi were making a trip to pay homage to a new King who was born. Protocol required a gift fitting a King. They expected the King to be in a palace. That is why Jerusalem was astir, and Herod gave them audience. Herod was a ruler, there wasn’t a chance for him to give audience to these men if they were not men of importance.
The Magi with Herod Photo from the Sabang Church of Christ Disciples
We do not know how many men came, the Bible does not tell us, regardless of what you may have been told. We do know the three main gifts of value they brought. Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. You can be sure they brought plenty.
Think of it this way, Jesus’s Father in Heaven knew that persecution would arise, He knew His Son’s life would be endangered soon, so He saw to it that the means and the money were there for the family to be taken care of, and more besides. Indeed right after the Wise-Men left taking another route, as instructed in dreams, Joseph also was instructed in a dream to take Mary and Jesus and escape to Egypt for their safety. Immediately thereafter Herod did order all children two and under to be killed. You can read this story in Matthew Chapter 2.
You may ask “Why two and under?” Herod wanted to be sure all potential threats to him and his reign/legacy/heirs would be eradicated. We also learn that the Wise-Men/Magi took a very long time getting there from very far away. At this point Jesus was no longer in a manger, His parents were living in a home.
Mary-and-Joseph-receive-the-wise-men-medium Photo from LDS.org
So, the value of the gifts the Magi brought had to be sufficient at least to provide for the family’s escape to Egypt, but I suspect that there was enough value in those gifts that managed well it would have supplemented the income for years to come.
Think about it, our Father has promised to provide for our needs, hasn’t He?! This was not just any family, this was Mary, the chaste young woman who said “Yes” to God and offered her womb as a virgin to carry the Holy child, God incarnate, who was to bring salvation to the world. This was Joseph, a chaste young man, who took Mary as his wife upon the word of an angel, and honored God. Joseph honored Mary’s body so that he did not have sex with her until after the child was born. They did have other children after. God also knew that Joseph would die when Jesus was yet no more than a teen, and that Jesus would have to carry the burden as the oldest Son to care for His mother and his younger siblings. So, why wouldn’t God see to it that the gifts He had the Wise-Men bring would be sufficient to care for the family for a long time?!
Matthew 8:19 And a certain scribe came and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee wherever thou goest. 20 And Jesus said unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.(JB2000)
Men’s traditions would have you think that just because Jesus said He had nowhere to lay His head, meant that He was poor. In context, at the time this was spoken, He was a traveling preacher with perhaps not much of a set itinerary. He was doing what he needed to in order for the disciples to learn. FAITH!! He needed them to learn to WALK by FAITH and TRUST their Heavenly FATHER to provide all. It would be entirely reasonable that He would say this to the inquiring scribe that following Him was costly (so to speak)!
Many of you like to go camping, or to rough it in the mountains etc. You are not without homes, or poor; you find the experience rewarding in different ways. The disciples were undergoing training, it was an exercise in FAITH.
Lets look at this passage and as we continue you will see. Here at this point, Jesus is giving the disciples instructions for their journey and their job.
Jesus ordains the Twelve Photo from HD Image Galleries.
Matthew 10: 9 Provide neither gold nor silver nor money in your girdles, 10 nor bag for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes nor a staff, for the workman is worthy of his food.(JB2000)
They are instructed to take nothing with them, no money, clothes, shoes or anything. Yet He tells them as they worked for Him they were worthy of their food/provision. Remember these men are not poor or homeless. They have homes/ families/ people that care about them. These men are also used to traveling to Jerusalem three times every year to fulfill the Law to keep the feasts. They go, they travel, they find inns to stay, they have money to do that. Among the disciples is also Matthew who has been a tax-collector. He’s used to having money. Also remember Judas? He was the money manager for the team. Does a team that has no money need a money manager?
John 13: 29 Since Judas kept the money bag, some thought that Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the feast, or to give something to the poor.(BSB)
Also, how do you give to the poor, if you yourself are the poor?! Think about it!!
This whole trip that the men are being commissioned for in Matthew 10 is a Faith learning journey. This is the true Seminary.
We get so carried away with men’s traditions, we lose sight of the true message of the Gospel. It is a literal Kingdom that we are subjects of. Visibility is not a factor. You do not see the air, but you know it is real for you see it’s effect. You do not see love, you see it’s actions and results. The Gospel message is one of Faith in the invisible with effects that are very visible. (Heb11:1) We WALK BY FAITH, and see concrete results.
This is what these disciples were sent to learn. They were commissioned to do the impossible understanding that they serve the God of the impossible, and that took faith. (vs 8: 8Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons)
We will pick up here in the next segment. I hope you return!
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