9.24.14 "The POWER of the Kingdom is Near!"

Matthew 10:1-8 10 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Do you remember the third grade?  I had a wonderful teacher in the third grade.  She was different from those that I had in first and second.  Don’t get me wrong, those early teachers were great teachers.  But they were motherly and grandmotherly like.  Ms. Rolf was in her mid-twenties and less authoritative.  As such we thought we could get away with a little more than with the more senior group.  Whenever she left the classroom it exploded into activity, most of which was harmless but strictly forbidden.  This would never have occurred on our other teachers’ watch.  But by the Third grade we had gotten smart enough to post a lookout.  A crack in the door gave the lookout a view of the hallway and whenever Ms. Rolf appeared the chaos would instantly go silent and she would enter a classroom of perfect little angles.  We discovered later that the little crack in the door worked both ways so the lookout was also being looked at.  We were not as smart as we thought we were.  But it struck back then how quickly things settled down when the word went out that the teacher was near.

The passage today when read in the context of verse 7 and the Sunday message is ultimately about POWER.  POWER so complete it can changes things just from coming near.  I have a new grandbaby and occasionally I actually get to spend time with her without the benefit of her Mom being present.  I am amazed at how she can sense when her Mom has returned even before she enters the room.  On several occasions she has awakened from a sound sleep just sensing that her mother has entered the house and is near.  If the CREATOR of the universe has so meticulously connected us to each other how intricate is our connection to HIM.   The sick are healed, dead are raised by the POWER of this holy connection, a connection that remains strong today in the face of unprecedented denial and rejection.

Recently I was moved by the story of Dr. Kent Brantly who chose a life of service and while working in a Liberian Ebola ward contracted the deadly decease himself.  With no known cure and a mortality rate estimated in some cases has high as 90 percent, the Doctor’s fate certainly appear sealed.  Perhaps it was sealed the moment he stepped into the hospital ward.  But you know the story.  A few weeks after being handed a death sentence the good doctor was Ebola free.   Interestingly enough during an interview after receiving this great news he did not thank his medical team or science, or make mention of the untested drug that may have been responsible for his recovery.  His first words were “GOD saved my life.” Amazing!  More than 2000 years after CHRIST gave instructions to HIS disciples the Kingdom of GOD remains near.

HEAVEN FATHER as we go about our task today remind us of YOUR truly awesome and wonderful power.  When we feel mad, anxious, fearful, bitter, depressed, let us feel YOUR presence and remind us that YOUR Kingdom is near.  In CHRIST name we pray, amen. 

Jim L.