The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), October 8
Jesus describes crowds as harvest fields, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Mt. 9:38). Jesus also describes the lives of those who follow Him and labor in those fields:
- Laborers are vulnerable, like “sheep among wolves;” therefore Jesus cautions His followers to be “as wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (10:16). He urges them not to be afraid (10:26, 28, 31).
- Laborers who seek human rather than divine approval may avoid conflict, but they are not worthy of the Father’s commendation. Jesus warns His followers, “Beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues” (10:17). He concludes, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (10:32-33).
- Laborers may be arrested or die on the job. Truth emboldens laborers to speak and suffer for the sake of the Gospel. Truth is like a light shining in the darkness; it exposes man’s sinful nature. Men love darkness rather than light and therefore attack those who dare to speak the truth. Jesus forecasts this: “When they deliver you up . . .” (10:19), “When they persecuted you . . .” (10:23), “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (10:28).
- The message the laborers deliver is divisive, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (10:34). Family members will turn against those among them who follow the truth (10:35-36).
- Laborers who value human relationships over the Gospel diminish Jesus’ worth, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of me” (10:37-38).
- The fully-surrendered laborer will discover that no life compares to the one lived for the glory of God, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (10:39).
- The laborer’s reward is held for him, “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (10:42).
- Laborers prove the true worth of following Christ. They follow their Master, who willingly laid down His life for the sheep. Though they are His sheep, and therefore vulnerable, they are called-out laborers to extend His care to the world. Their vulnerability forces them to depend on the Master for provision, power, and protection, while His grace gives them boldness to face rejection, separation, and persecution.
- Laborers’ lives are well-lived for the Kingdom of God.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Mt. 9:27-38; 10:1-42; 13:35-38; Mk. 6:1-13; Lk. 9:1-6):
What does the rejection of Jesus by His own relatives and townspeople reveal about them? How had their familiarity and expectations crippled their faith?
What does Jesus’ commissioning of the twelve disciples reveal about successful ministry?