Do you ever feel intimated when you read the exploits of certain Bible characters, thinking, “I could never do that!” I sometimes do. For example when I read the Gospels and the Book of Acts, I struggle to see myself following in the footsteps of Jesus and the early Church leaders, performing amazing miracles. So I find passages like Matthew Chapter 10, describing Jesus commissioning and empowering his disciples, especially challenging. Consider verses 7 and 8: “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.” Definitely a tall order! In the past I have always interpreted that last command, “Freely you have received; freely give” as me offering to others what I have received from Jesus; for example forgiveness of sins, salvation, adoption into God’s family and eternal life. But I realized recently that this is not Jesus’ intent here. What we have freely received is his authority and empowerment to preach his Gospel with miracles following. And it applies to all believers. Check it out for yourselves. The message of the New Testament is clear. All believers have been given this commission and empowerment. There is therefore no excuse for avoidance. There is no room for intimidation. The stakes are too high. Let’s dare to believe that we really are God’s answers for our generation!
Ps Jurgen Wiesner