Cross the Street Before You Cross the Ocean – Matthew 10 – By Ty Tamasaka
“5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a]drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” Matthew 10:5-15 NIV
As we continue in the sending of the first missionaries, we find Jesus communicating two more truths to His first apostles. These men were the first missionaries in the Bible. Jesus Christ gave them the divine authority they needed to do His work and set some parameters for their work.
1 – Cross the street before you cross the ocean.
At the start of their ministry, Jesus established priorities and put restrictions on the apostles. When they began, He told them,
“Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
In other words, when it comes to going out on mission, Jesus was saying, “Start in your home country. Start where you are at!” Jesus taught them to, “Cross the street before you cross the ocean!”
Jesus’ instructions NOT to go to the Gentiles was not as much of prohibition of a wider mission as it revealed a priority of the first mission. God’s intention was to reach the whole world, but His plan started with the lost sheep of Israel.
Part of the reason Jesus sent them first to the Jews was that if they had gone to the Samaritans or Gentiles first, no one would have received them back home because the Jews saw the Gentiles as “unclean.” The Jews were prepared by the Prophets and the Old Covenant.
2 – Attempt the impossible!
Jesus challenged His apostles to do the impossible!
“As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:7-8 NIV
Who does that? Who is crazy enough to call a small group of apostles to go out and heal the sick, raise the dead, cure the un-curable diseases – without medicine, and to drive out demons? On that same note – who is insane enough to try it out?
Following Jesus and being sent out by Him is not an easy or comfortable calling.
Where did we get the idea that Christianity was meant to be easy? How have we drawn the conclusion that Christianity is about getting saved, getting rich, getting comfortable, and getting well when we get with God? Jesus sent out His first missionaries to do the impossible… and they did it! They lived out an irrational faith with unbelievable risk.
In Matthew 9:26-28, Jesus told His disciples to pray for laborers in the harvest. They were to pray for the lost. In Matthew 10:7-8, Jesus sends them out to serve as laborers to reach the lost in the very harvest they prayed for!
Interesting. God used the disciples to answer their own prayers!
I wonder if God wants to use you to answer your own prayers too. I wonder what burdens you carry and pray over that God wants to use you to make an impact in. I wonder what burden seems impossible to overcome, yet it stirs in your heart still. I wonder what area in your life God is stirring you to attempt the impossible.
Oh Lord the calling to be a missionary is not easy. It is not comfortable, safe, or domesticated. Empower me with courage to be the answer to my own prayers. Give me courage to cross the street before I cross the ocean. Overwhelm me in Your love so much that I have a reckless abandon to attempt the impossible with You. In the powerful name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Ty Tamasaka is an author who hold a Master of Arts Degree from Pacific Rim Christian University in Christian Ministry He is a Bible teacher who loves to encourage people to enjoy Jesus’ grace and extend His Kingdom. Ty just released his new book More than a Conqueror: 5 Pathways to Personal Revival.