Both here and on our Facebook page will feature a daily observation / devotion, and we will upload each week a video-sermon, a PDF of the sermon, a short service outline, a kids’ activity sheet, and link some Youtube songs, all connected with the sermon series.

24th May 2020 service – click here

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Matthew 9:35-10:15
The 'lost sheep' image from verse 36 is so poignant in the history of God's people - from Numbers 27:17 through to Ezekiel 34 into Zechariah 10:2, it captures the state of the family of Abraham. Their hearts are stubborn, their leadership has been faulty, and their ability to represent God as he is is spiritually bankrupt. As Jesus looks out at those who are thronging around him, his heart swells with compassion as he sees their need. They cannot even grasp that the fulfilment of their God-given promises is standing right in front of them!

As he continues his public ministry, he commissions twelve men to be his 'apostles'. The number '12', in the context of his compassion for the 'lost sheep of Israel, is no random figure - it is meant to form a connection in our minds with the twelve tribes of Israel.

As he continues his public ministry, he delegates his authority to these twelve men - they are to represent him to the broken sheep. They are given the authority to do the miraculous - the wording of 'heal every disease and sickness' in 10:1 is the same as in 9:35! It is striking that they are not delegated - yet - the authority to teach and preach (perhaps they have not grasped fully his identity to expound it?).

As he continues his public ministry, he chooses remarkably ordinary and normal men. There are fishermen, brothers, a tax collector, men who struggle with authority and men who struggle with sin. There are the collaborators (like Matthew) and the revolutionaries (like Judas Iscariot and Simon the Zealot) mixed with the pragmatic fishermen and the doubters.

In essence, Jesus is now answering the very prayer that he commanded the disciples to pray by taking equally broken men and empowering them to represent him to other broken humans. That is so very heart-warming! And a little confronting, isn't it?

Collect (Psalm 54):

Father, it is you alone who is offended by my sin and so you alone who can forgive my sin. In Jesus, you have done this! You are my helper and sustainer, my deliverer and my vindicator - by your name and power alone. Help me to be satisfied in your work, delight in your work, and rest in your work. Amen.
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Matthew 9:35-10:15
I struggle with evangelism. I struggle with evangelism because it jeopardises my reputation, it shakes my relationships, it puts me in an 'outsider' position in a world that dismisses Jesus - it is awkward and difficult!

I need verses 37-38, which emerge out of verse 36...

I need to be reminded that evangelism emerges from compulsion driven by compassion for broken, tired and weary people like me. I need to be reminded that there is a massive need out there for people to be made whole again - and I know the Good Doctor. I need to be reminded that Jesus has the same deep compassion and desire. I need to be reminded that there are few workers. I need to be reminded that the immediate solution is not to do another course, run another event, or establish another ministry - I need to drop to my knees and ask, request, plead and pray to the 'Lord of the harvest'. I need to be reminded that the prayer request is for more workers. I need to be reminded that the Lord of the harvest will send out the workers needed for 'his harvest'. I need to be reminded (as I skip into Matthew 10:1) that the answer to my prayer, from the Lord of the harvest, will be the equipping of the prayers, making them harvest-workers.

This week, I need to be reminded of these truths. And I need to pray in line with them... Now, I know that some might argue with the exegesis of this passage above (after all, this to the Twelve and for their immediate, short-term mission to the 'lost sheep of Israel'), but the points bear out under the stretch of evangelism through the rest of the New Testament... So, let's pray!!!

Collect:

Father, your harvest is planted, grown, ripe and ready to bring in. It is the people you will restore. Please send out more workers. Please equip them for the task ahead. Please make them steadfast, compassionate, dependent and gracious. Please do that in me! Amen.
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