Matthew 9:35-10:15 TNIV
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
“Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for workers are worth their keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at that person’s house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
There may be no greater joy of friendship than whole-hearted ministry together. When Jesus sent the disciples out, in ministry teams of two friends each, they returned rejoicing in the greatness of God. So, too, have Christian friends throughout the centuries gone forth in faith, companions in ministry, eager to behold God’s grace at work. Hear an excerpt from Phoebe Palmer’s revival ministry during the late nineteenth century:
From San Jose we went to Stockton. Here also, we engaged in precious toils for the blessed Master. Laboring in spirit, day and night, in sympathy with Him whose whole life was one great sacrifice, we were permitted to witness the fruit of our labors, in the sanctification of believers, and the salvation of precious souls. Surely, it is a work that angels might covet, to fly from one region to another, and assist in planting firmly, the banner of “Holiness to the Lord.”…
Stupendous have been the manifestations of converting and sanctifying power! At the call of the churches, we have, during the past eleven months, traveled between twelve and thirteen thousand miles. Besides going to many other places, at the bidding of the Master, we have traveled across the continent, from sea to sea…And here, during the closing days of 1870, let me renewedly raise an Ebenezer of exalted Praise!
—Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874) Letter to Mrs. Langford, Sept. 3, 1870