Spent some time reading in Matthew 10 during my Time Alone With God (TAWG) today. This was yet another amazing chapter in Matthew with some solid sections of scripture. In the first paragraph, we see that Jesus gives the disciples authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness… that is AMAZING!!! Later Jesus tells the disciples that they are being sent out like sheep among the wolves and that they will be flogged for the name of Jesus… this doesn’t sound so amazing. These situations are extremely different... the question is, as Christians, are we willing to roll with the ups and downs and just trust in the good Lord? Hmmmm… let’s go ahead and take a deeper look at these scriptures.
The first one is, “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” (Matthew 10:1). I believe that those who believe in Jesus can still do these very acts today. Why? Well, I have a few reasons to believe that we can still perform these acts today. First of all, Jesus says this in scripture, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12). Wow!!! Jesus says that we will do EVEN GREATER THINGS than He did. If these sorts of acts aren’t happening, it is not always because it isn’t the Lords will, but rather because we lack faith in the fact that these things can be done through us in Jesus name. Another reason that I believe these things can happen is because I laid hands on an individual and prayed for the healing of her back (she struggled to even walk), and her back was healed… the doctors were amazed. I also prayed over a man that was oppressed by a demon, and as I prayed in the name of Jesus, the demon left the man and was eventually cast out of the room and out of sight. I don’t share these stories for my glory, but rather to recognize that it was the name of Jesus that made these things happen… I was just a willing vessel to be used that had faith in the name of Jesus… all glory, honor, and praise goes to Jesus. There is power, healing, peace, love, joy, and whatever good thing you need in the mighty and precious name of Jesus, especially if you ask with the right motives in your heart and if you trust that the good Lord knows what is best for you and/or the situation. You ALWAYS praise Him no matter what the outcome may be as you know that He knows what is best.
The second section of scripture that I want to look at is, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. (Matthew 10: 16-17). Wow!!! First off, if you are frustrated and you think you are going through persecution for Jesus, think about the flogging that the disciples went through. This flogging is mentioned in the book of acts, “They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.” (Acts 5:40-42). This reaction to persecution (flogging) is so beautiful, the disciples “rejoiced as they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name of Jesus”. Then they go out and continue to share the gospel with others, even though it puts them at risk of being persecuted again. I feel that today, we can tend give up on Jesus so easily with just the slightest bit of persecution. It’s time for us to step it up for the name of Jesus and celebrate in the midst of persecution, because we KNOW that there is no name greater than the name of Jesus. He is the one who saves and He gives us our purpose and fulfillment.
The final section of scripture I want to look at directly follows the section of scripture that I just mentioned above, “On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10: 18-20). I love this!!! The Lord says that He will put the disciples in situations where they will be able to speak to people of influence (governors and Kings). Not only that, but he says not to worry about what you will say or how as the Spirit of God will speak through you. This happens in so many different places throughout scripture and it is such a beautiful thing. The Lord wants to use us as vessels not only heal people through, but rather to speak to people through. The Lord will give us ‘Words of Knowledge’ to share with others that could very well lead them to Christ and this is often times the way the prophetic gift is used as well.
Back in college I used to go around campus and share the gospel with people. Sometimes I would simply just sit down with someone at lunch or dinner and smoothly work the gospel into the conversation. Other times I would just sit at a table or couch in the commons area and ask God to bring those that needed to know Him to me. Not matter what the situation, I ALWAYS asked God to give me ‘Words of Knowledge’ for the person I’d be speaking to, and I’d ask Him to speak to me and speak through me. This time of sharing the gospel was all about Him and for His glory, I was just a vessel that was willing to be used by Him. I had so many amazing conversations that I never would have had if I hadn’t simply set aside time to share with others and be used by the good Lord. The best conversations were the ones that would come to me. I would be sitting and reading a Christian book in the commons area and I’d ask God to bring someone to me. One time, it was within 5-10 minutes that a young lady came and sat down across from me. She gasped over and over again, making it clear that she needed to talk to someone. The Lord gave me the go ahead and I basically allowed myself to be a listening ear that she could vent to. Then I was able to share Jesus with her, pray with her, and invite her to Campus Crusade for Christ. It was an incredible moment, like many others that I have had, and it just felt amazing to know that the Lord used me yet again.
In conclusion, I just want to encourage us to do our best to stay strong in the midst of persecution and to ultimately see it as the disciples did, a reason to rejoice for the name of Jesus. We should, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1: 2-4). I also want to encourage us to have faith that in the name of Jesus we can still heal the sick and drive out demons. Not only that, but if we are willing vessels to be used (as we should be), the Lord wants to give us the words to share with others to guide them to Him. Allow the good Lord to heal others through you and to save others through you for His glory, honor, and praise. Now let’s ARM Up in Christ, and go into the active duty of the “Great Commission”.
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