Having spoken with authority (Matthew 5-7) and acted with authority (Matthew 8-9), Jesus now entrusts his twelve disciples with some measure of that authority, sending them out to minister to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But notice the additional qualifiers of those the disciples are sent to—the sick, the dead or dying, the lepers, the demon-possessed. Jesus is sending his disciples to preach the good news of the kingdom of heaven to the least likely of recipients—those who have lost all hope and have nothing to offer in return.
It may be tempting to look upon these unlikely recipients with pity. However, let us remember that this is essentially what God the Father has done for us in sending his son. We, too, were sick, dead, and cut off without hope. We were infected with sin, dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1), the least likely to be recipients of God’s favor. And yet, at just the right time, Jesus was sent to die for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).
Oh, what grace! What, then, is our response? Quite simply, to go and do likewise—to follow the disciples’ lead in preaching the good news of the kingdom—not merely to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” but to “all nations” (Matthew 28:18). As the saying goes, “saved people are sent people.” To whom is the Lord sending you?