ONEprayer Devotion – Day 2
1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 2 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; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
This passage doesn’t actually mention the words “harvest” or “crop.” So, what is it doing in this series on the harvest? Well, it’s important to understand that the original records of Jesus’ life had no chapters or verses. To help in reading and referencing the text, chapters were added in the 13th century and verses in the 16th century. Originally, Matthew’s gospel was one long scroll and this passage followed straight after the passage we read yesterday. The original scroll would have read like this (in Greek of course, not English):
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.” Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness … 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.
That was a very fast answer to prayer. The disciples prayed for harvesters and then Jesus sent them straight out to bring in the harvest. They were the answer to their own prayer. This is the first time that Matthew mentions the “Twelve.” Maybe the disciples he asked to pray (9:38) were a wider group and just the close band (the Twelve disciples) were commissioned by Jesus to go out into the harvest fields. We don’t know exactly. But certainly, some of the pray-ers became the answer to their prayers.
It’s so easy to see evangelism as someone else’s job. It’s true that some Christians are more gifted in evangelistic reaping. When I church planted with Mark, this became obvious to me. I would preach the gospel as clearly and as passionately as I could and get a meagre response, and then Mark would say a few words after I had spoken and people would respond readily. He was constantly leading people to Jesus. We’re not all strongly gifted in evangelism like Mark. But neither were the disciples. They were commissioned by Jesus as harvesters, not necessarily gifted as harvesters. Being part of Jesus’ inner circle meant they had a job to join Jesus in bringing in the harvest. Even Judas was included. Jesus’ commissioning of the Twelve reminds me of Paul’s instructions to his protégé Timothy: “Do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:5). Paul is saying, “It’s your calling Timothy whether you feel adequate or not.”
I believe that it’s your calling too. With the fields ready for harvest, we need as many reapers as possible. Recently, there have been sad stories from farmers of good fruit rotting on trees because no one was available to pick it. Imagine if this is happening spiritually. Imagine if people were ready to receive Jesus but there was no-one to tell them. How distressing. You are part of the answer to your prayer for workers to reap the harvest.
If this worries you, that’s okay. I’m sure it worried the Twelve too. But Jesus promised spiritual authority and power to them and you have even greater access to God’s power through his Spirit. Muster your courage, cry out for help, and get out into the harvest.
READY FOR HARVEST STORY:
MALYON THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE
At Malyon Theological College, I teach a class on missions. It’s a Zoom class where everyone is online. (This is a part of the new world of tertiary education that we are embracing.) A few weeks ago, I was concluding my missions lectures when one of my students asked whether he would be able to share briefly before we closed. This is not a usual occurrence, but obviously God had put something on his heart, so I gave him the go-ahead.
He shared how the lectures of the past few weeks had deeply impacted him. He understood in a fresh way God’s call on his life and recognised that he needed to be completely surrendered to God for whatever part God had for him to play in His great mission in this world. As I listened to him, I praised God for what he was doing in raising up workers for the huge harvest to come.
He then went on to tell how the following Sunday he had invited a large group of his friends to gather after church. He told them how God had been challenging him. After a time of prayer and worship together, many of his friends also resolved to be completely surrendered to God for whatever part he had for them in bringing in the harvest. God is raising up harvest workers.
PRAYER POINTS FROM OUR MOVEMENT
We’re praying that God will lead us to where and how He is wanting us to church plant in the future. We collectively believe that God has called us to be a planting church but we want to be effective in His calling for us for when, where and how!
Bracken Ridge Baptist Church
Please pray that QCCC can maximise the influence it has with Queensland’s emerging generation, to show them the goodness of life in Jesus, and inspire them to explore the gospel for themselves. We pray that as champions and catalysts of the Judeo-Christian worldview we can be agents of regeneration for the gospel message in a contemporary way.
Bundaberg Baptist Church
Exceptional sign up for Alpha across Carinity in term 3, including schools, prisons, and staff, and increased opportunities for QB churches to connect with Carinity sites to build strong relational Kingdom links.
That there would be a breakthrough in church growth at Churchill and a revival of sorts with new people especially the younger generation.
Churchill Baptist Church
Lord God please bring us under great conviction about your holiness so that we will be committed to obey and respond to the harvest around us. And Lord Jesus we ask you to unleash your Holy Spirit to bring revival to our city of Bundaberg.
Bundaberg Baptist Church
Full time associate pastor
City Tabernacle Baptist
Please pray for the Real Life and EXLR8 seminars, in single session and full 2 and a half day format as they are prepared, refined and delivered to Christian and public schools, leading to thousands of students (year 7 – 11) having questions of Jesus and their life choices raised and their current thoughts challenged, with repeat school bookings following for future programs.
Multiply our outreach to see the number of people coming to faith double in the next 12 months.