Matthew 10:6-9 from the Message – “Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.”

Go to the people in the neighborhood.  Now I firmly believe that our neighborhoods extend well beyond the size of the neighborhood in Jesus day.   When Jesus walked the earth, the neighborhoods were a lot smaller.   When I can “reach out” and talk to people in Haiti, Uganda, Texas, Italy and Scotland in a matter of hours, our neighborhood is much bigger.   But that doesn’t change Jesus command – go to the lost and the confused in the neighborhood.

Bring health to the sick – so often when I’ve read that, I’ve thought that it meant just the disciples that could perform miracles.   But, what if it means that we are supposed to bring health to the sick by supporting health care for the underprivileged?   What if it means we’re supposed to bring health to the sick by praying for them?   What if it means we’re supposed to bring health to the sick by fighting against a system that makes it incredibly hard to get medical care for children who struggle with mental and emotional challenges due to their past – a past that was not their fault?   

What if that’s what it means?

“Touch the untouchables.”   Once again, I often thought that it meant that the disciples were supposed to be comfortable with going among the leper colonies and healing the sick there.

But what if Jesus means it as more?

What if Jesus means that to touch the untouchable, we’re merely supposed to be willing to sit next to the hurting?

What if it means we’re supposed to be willing to sit with the grief and pain of a parent whose child is struggling with mental illness?

What if it means we’re supposed to let our guard down and be open to saying, “Yeah, me too.”

What if it means we’re supposed to ask, “How are you?” and really take the time to mean it?

What if it means that we’re supposed to be willing to help – even when helping is ugly? Even when helping hurts and takes time.   Because these are God’s people who are hurting and we need to reach out and touch them.

What if it means standing up and saying and doing the uncomfortable because people and places both in the United States and in the Middle East are doing the unspeakable and the incomprehensible?

What if it means standing up and saying, “I won’t tolerate people in our country being treated differently strictly because of where they were born or the color of their skin?”

Is that what it means?

I used to think that this passage was just talking to the disciples before they went out on their mission trip.

I don’t think so any more.

TJV

P.S.  I didn’t even get to the generously part – but much of what we did talk about requires a generous life……