If you are like me, I would rather someone else get their hands dirty instead of casting out unclean spirits and healing the sick (Matt. 10:1). The word, heal, means to serve and attend to someone whose life has been destroyed. We "heal" someone by going through the following steps in proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 10:7-8):
1. Heal the sick. Serve the interests of those who are sick, literally powerless, weak and without strength symbolized by the paralyzed person who was raised up supernaturally from his bed (Matt. 9:1-7). Provide vocational and basic life skills training for those who are poor economically (physical health)
2. Raise the dead. Wake people up from being dead in sin. Preach the gospel so people become new creations in Christ as they are saved from the guilt and penalty of sin symbolized when Christ raised the synogogue official's daughter from the dead (Matt. 9:18,23-26) (spiritual health)
3. Cleanse the lepers. Disciple the outcasts of society (single moms, elderly, abused, disabled immigrants, economic poor, addicted, prisoners, etc.) so they grow in their relationship with Christ and purified from enslavement to power of sin. Christ stopped a woman's bleeding after 12 years when she touched Christ's garments, which symbolizes becoming intimate with Christ through discipleship (Matt. 9:20-22) (mental health)
4. Cast out demons. For discipleship to be effective, we must address sins of the past, destructive beliefs, emotional & spiritual pain and curses & oppression symbolized by the two blind men asking for mercy from Jesus (Matt. 9:27-31) (emotional health).
We apply a flexible strategy looking for receptive people while trusting God to meet our financial needs (Matt. 10:9-13).
We also apply a pragmatic strategy utilizing wisdom, fleeing hostility and not taking unnecessary risks (Matt. 10: 16-39). At the same time, we continue preaching and teaching being willing to lose our life in spite of persecution since God will reward our suffering (Matt. 10:26-28, 34-39). The mission of sharing the gospel of the kingdom is "crucial, shared, sustained, complex, strategic, demanding and Jesus-shaped" [i]
Our task as disciples is to serve the humble. Those who receive our message are actually receiving Christ Himself. We will receive eternal reward if we realize it's not about us (Matt. 10:40-42).
Which of these four points (healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers and casting out demons) most spoke to you? Where do you need to grow in your walk with Christ? How will you impart what Christ has given to someone else?
[i] The New American Commentary, pg. 167