Friday 16 June 2023

Matthew 9, 35 to 10. v 5. 

The compassion of Jesus is common theme in Matthews Gospel. In this passage, Jesus went through villages and towns, preaching in the Synagogues, and telling the good news about the Kingdom of God. He healed all manner of illneses,and when He saw the crowds He showed compassion, for they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd,

He told His Apostles the harvest was great, but the workers few. So calling for prayer to the Lord of the harvest,to send more workers.

Jesus called the Apostles together, and gave them the authority to cast out evil spirits, and heal every kind of illness. He sent the Apostles out, and told them not to go to the Gentiles, but only to the people of Israel.

As we reflect on the passage, we Find there strength of faith in Christ can be found in Places we would not expect to find it. A blind man called out, to Son of David. They could not have seen the micracles He perfomed, but only have heard from someone else. However, their eyes may not have seen, but thier minds were enlightened. They could see the truths the Pharisees could not see. They saw Jesus of nazareth, and they believed He would heal them.

This teaches us we should not give up hope of someone's salvation merely because of anything we think might prevail aaginst them Grace is stronger than circumstamces, The life of Christianity does not lie upon outward factors  The Holy Spirit can give faith, and keep faith active without great book learning or money.  this is something the academic theologians should learn.  Think of the Apostles who were ordinary fishermen and the like, who in to-day' Church would never pass a seletion board.  Instead, we get lumbered with men and women who re unable to honour their vows.  Wihout the Holy Spirit, a man may know all the contents of books,and live in a full blaze of the gospel, but be lost. Poor men living in strange areas may be found to have faithfully believed in Jeus Christ, while the man with full University lerning may be like the Pjarisees in hardeend unbelief. Jesus said, the last may be the first .

Jesus had great experience of disease and sickness. He went into all the towns and villages,attending to all the ills a body can produce, and faced up to all kinds of body suffering, confronting  every kind of sickness,yet nothing was too frightening for Him,

There is much for us to learn, especially for those of us in ministry as we perfrom pastoral duty, and I know that Ministers of churches in poor districts of our big cities face likewise every day, and deserve total credit. Not for them a constant search for a parish in more select areas.  This was displayed, and is still happening, during the pandemic which swept the world.  We never know what we might be expected to face, and have to have faith in the Lord to protect us,  I am in contact with Pastors daily, who have to face not only sickness of the worst kind, but also danger from the authorities who are not of the Christian faith.  I admire their courage and fortitude.  The Great High Priest to whom we pray for pardon and peace from God, is well able to look with pity on the disabled,

We see the tender compassion of Jesus for the nglected souls. He saw plenty of people when He was among them, seeing them as sheep without a shepherd, and was moved with compassion for them. He saw them neglected by those who should have been caring for them helpless and dying. The sight moved Him to deep sorrow and pity.

There are millions of idolaters and heathen on earth which we meet, and their ignorance and resistance to becoming comverted is something we will not be able, on our own to deal with.  It seems the richer people and well educated, who never have to face the social disorder others have to endure, so living in a make-believe world of sufficiency, are the harder to face.  they have such self-confidence which makes them feel invincible, and many attend Church for showmanship or business reasons.  Any commitment to the Lord is purely coincidental.  We still have to have pity for their misguided lives

Finally, we find their is a solemn duty on Christians to face the unconverted world. We need to pray for firstly the conversion of all Ministers of the Church, to return to the Bible once given for all time. This may sould cynical, but it is a firm fact. If I am doubted, look at the Churches in this country who peform same sex marriages, and from within the Church there people campaigning for this, despite having vowed at ordination to banish all false doctrine.

If we do not have full confidence for the supreme authority of the Bible in our mission, we are not fully equipped. Think of 2 Timothy3  v.16. All Scripture is breathed out by God and  profiable for teaching, for rproof, for corruption, and for training in righteousness. that the man of God may be competent, equipped for evry good work. 

May we all pray never forgetting to pray for the unconverted, especially those in our families and those with whom we meet, it is the surest way of doing good and wiping out evil. Money can buy, Universities may teach and give learning.  Congregations may elect and bishops ordain.  Holy Spirit makes efficient Ministers of the gospel, and raise up lay workers in a spiritual harvest, Never forget we can do wonders in this world if we are blessed by the Holy Spirit, so let us pray for that.

In the verses from Chapter 10 there is some solemnity.  Here is the first ordination as Jesus gives His Apostles authority to act in his Name.

We see in the first place, that all Ministers are not necessarily good men. We see our Lord choosing His Apostles, one of which was Juds Iscariot.  Jesus would know well the characters of the men He chose, and one was a traitor.

It is important to note that ordinations do not confer the saving grace of the Holy Spirit. Ordained men, as we have seen are not to be assumed to be converted. They should not be regarded as infallible either in doctrine or in practice.  It is known some make use of their position to do bad things, and not see them as in Christ's place, which some like to claim. They may not be above the harm of flattery. They should be proven by their adherence to the Word of God. We should seek to pray they would be in the likeness of James, John, and Jude, not as of Judas.

We are taught the great work of a Minister is to do good, by seeking figuratively, lost sheep;proclaim the good news of the Gospel, to comfort the suffering, seek to restore the sorrowing; follow  a life of giving mot receiving.  A faithful Minister of Christ will be a subject of abuse not ease. I have found the surest way of getting abuse is to be politically incorrect; another is to preach the Bible which condemms modern lines of thinking; and to tell what is spiritually right. I have also learned to be complained  against is more like a badge of honour, for it hits home when a person has a guilty conscience. We shall all be judged by according to our light.

All who read to-day's passage should put to their conscience, are we decent and respectable in our lives, correct and moral in all the relations of life. Are we really receiving the love of truth and is Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith.  Without this, the preaching of the Gospel only adds to our guilt and takes us away from God.  

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