Day 9 of my 28 #DailyMatthew journey. Chapters 8 and 9 of the Gospel of Matthew contain some incredible stories, images, and truths. Numerous physical healings, Jesus’ power over nature, spiritual deliverance, even power over death. To his disciples, it must have seemed that Jesus could do anything at this point. A new age was here; who or what could possibly stop Jesus?
As recorded at the end of chapter 9, though, once Jesus’ core of twelve disciples was set, he said something that must have been a shock to hear. “I need your help”, Jesus said (verse 37). What help could Jesus possibly want or need?
Was there a limit to Jesus’ power? No, I don’t think so. Was the magnitude of the mission too overwhelming for him? I doubt it. Why then, did Jesus ask for help? Why did he instruct his disciples to pray for workers to join him?
Part of the reason would certainly have been that Jesus knew what was about to happen three years later and the disciples would have to continue with the mission of God after he left them, but I think this was more than just some good strategic forward-thinking by Jesus.
I think Jesus was also inviting his first disciples (and therefore his current disciples) to develop a pattern of prayerful dependance upon God. It was like Jesus said to them, “You now have a taste of what the Kingdom of God is supposed to be like, but I don’t want you to sit and watch me do everything. I want you to pray. I want you to see the harvest fields. I want you to ask for more workers!”
The fact that you are reading this today is evidence the world has experienced two thousand years of “workers for the harvest.”
The other half of the invitation, though, is that you and I are needed to be the workers! Workers, not just consumers. Jesus never invited anyone to consume a Christian experience so that they would simply feel good. In fact, those who experienced the restorative grace of Jesus were often told to serve others by becoming workers who continued the mission of God. And … I peeked ahead to tomorrow’s reading, and I am pretty sure that mission is a big part of the next chapter. 😉
Jesus needs you. The mission of God needs you. How will you respond?