In Matthew 10, Jesus names and sends his disciples out on mission. The first ten verses might be thoroughly inviting to any prospective missionary, but when you get to verse eleven you start reading about the first signs of rejection. Sometimes the disciples are going to have to shake the dust off their feet and move to another town. If the thought of being rejected didn’t lose you, then Jesus describes the mission field as that which is full of wolves that devour his sheep. They will deliver you over to the courts, drag you before governors and kings, your own family will betray you, and you may be put to death and hated by all. That is truly enough to make anyone at least a little “sheepish” (pun intended) about evangelism and mission.
When we read these verses in Matthew 10:11-23, the hostility we see may all too easily override the overwhelming reasons that make evangelism worth it. So, let’s recap Jesus’ encouragements for his disciples, and for us starting in the introductory verses from Matthew 9:35.
Jesus has compassion for lost and hurting people.
The harvest is actually plentiful. There are lost sheep just waiting to be saved.
The apostles were ordinary men and unlikely candidates for mission just like us.
When we go on mission, we go with the authority of Christ and not our own.
Jesus prepares us and helps us to know how to deal with rejection.
Mission is a direct representation of Christ’s compassion.
To represent Christ is to receive the response to Christ. This is a great privilege.
Jesus prepares us for mission, not self-preservation.
Jesus prepares with a mix of God-given biblical wisdom mixed with humble, gentle, innocence.
God never leaves us and gives us the Holy Spirit to help us with his words.
There is an eternal prize worth enduring for.
A rejection in one place never stops you from going to another.
When we face hostility, we get to be just like our Master.
We can overcome fear in the knowledge of God’s infinitely good character.
God is omniscient and righteous in judgment of man.
Biblical Fear of God motivates us to witness to those who may even hate us.
Rather than living with fear, we live according to God’s providence now and his reward later.
Allegiance to Christ turns the world’s badge of disgrace into a heavenly badge of honor.
When we represent Jesus we have the opportunity to give God to people who really need him.
When people receive us, they receive Jesus.
Even the lowly childlike disciple can be received by people who will gain and never lose eternal reward.
So, don’t read chapter ten and be fearful about the possible hostility in mission. Read it thoughtfully and see Christ’s glorious preparation and encouragement for all those will accept his commission to take the gospel to every family member, neighbor, colleague, official, tribe, tongue, and nation. There is every reason for unlikely people like us to proclaim Christ to all.