We know who we are…

 

Matthew 11:1-6 

When Jesus finished placing this charge before his twelve disciples, he went on to teach and preach in their villages. 2 John, meanwhile, had been locked up in prison. When he got wind of what Jesus was doing, he sent his own disciples 3 to ask, “Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting?” 4 Jesus told them, “Go back and tell John what’s going on: 5 The blind see, The lame walk, Lepers are cleansed, The deaf hear, The dead are raised, The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side. 6 “Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves most blessed!”

All of Chapter 10 from vs. 5 on was a body of instructions to his disciples.  Can we see those as instructions to us?  Yes, since he later told them to go out and make disciples – they were to carry on His work to all the world, not just Israel.  That comes at the end of the story.  After the cross we all were brought into the kingdom — Abraham’s seed had blessed all nations.  So we need to heed those instructions, they tell us who we are, what our assignment is.  When we receive the assignment we then are to carry on the work and make disciples of all nations.  It is good to remember the disciples spent three years receiving the Word, watching the healing, raising of the dead, driving out demons and cleansing the leper.  Then, during that time they were given a practicum session putting what they heard and saw into practice.  They heard, then did; they became doers of the Word.

During the time with Christ and following His crucifixion, the disciples  wrestled with disfavor and favor, they were tested through Christ’s trial and death, their faith was tried by fire; did they really believe what they believed was really real?  They had to deal with grief, doubt, distrust, and returned to their old lives.  We see the same among us today.  But when He was revealed to them, salvation occurred; then Christ  left and the Holy Spirit was given.  Now the complete, final transformation took place.  Peter, no longer a fisherman, no longer doubting, no longer afraid, no longer denying his stand, became a preacher/teacher with a message, became the emissary of Christ, one who stood in His place and continued His work.  He suffered for it, but received a reward as well.  What have we learned? We know who we are;  We are who God says we are. What can we do?  We can do all things through Christ.

Continuing in Chapter 11 we see John the Baptist sending his disciples to Jesus with a question.  He hears what is happening and confirms Jesus’ ministry and position with the question:”Are you the one who is to come or should we expect another?”

Jesus replies: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:  The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the good news is preached to the poor.  Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me. Another translation puts it more clearly; ‘God blesses those who are not offended by me.

We know who we are; we are who God says we are.  Can the same be said of us should the question be asked, are you the one?  Are we the one with the message that delivers and brings life and love?  Can the same be said: Go and report what you see and hear… What would be said?  What is heard of us, what is seen of us?

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Find yourself…

Matthew 10:29 -42

“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. 30 He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail – even numbering the hairs on your head! 31 So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries. 32 “Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. 33 If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you? 34 “Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut – 35 make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law – cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. 36 Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. 37 If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me. 38 “If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. 39 If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me. 40 “We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. 41 Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. 42 Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”

If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me,Jesus, you’ll find both yourself and me. Focus is everything.  Over and over we are told to keep our eyes on Christ not on our circumstances.  When we finally ‘get it’ we will find all that can come our way to distract us, harm us, inconvenience us, lacks importance.  Remember being little, the right kind of cereal was so important and if it was gone life was terrible?  We need to move beyond that.  Who are we?  Jesus says we are messengers/emissaries, yet more than that..He says when those to whom we offer the message accept a messenger of God, that is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. He says anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me.  We are standing in His place!  We have an awesome task that is not easy, has potential for personal hurt, but resting in Him we do not fear…This task gives life to the receiver and the giver. Who are we? His representatives with His authority, under His protection! I am who God says I am

And I find out who I am.  We are His messengers, protected by Him, sent by Him with a message of love and forgiveness.  We are sent to heal, give life, tell about His kingdom, and kick out the demons…When we accept the task, we stand in His place, touching with His touch, speaking His words.  Awesome responsiblity, and He is right there with us.  I am who God says I am,  We are who God says we are…