Over the past couple of days the gospel readings have been from Matthews Mt 10:7-15 account of the commissioning of the Apostles to proclaim the Kingdom of God. They are given permission to do certain things and they are prohibited from doing others. They are directed to bring the message to the house of Israel, and not to the likes of Samaria. They are given permission to cure and heal in His name, they are prohibited from allowing anything to corrupt their mission. Finally, they are told of the many hardships they will endure.
Think of those 12 Apostles going into the world Mt 10:16-23 on this specific mission. They are a small group of followers going against an enormous establishment. They are going against a massive temple, and the power and wealth that is behind it. They challenge a religious authority, that authority is also a political authority; and it is an authority with powerful allies(?) in a world that abhors unrest and uprisings. It is a world that is dominated by brute and brutal strength. It is a world where the authority does not tolerate challenges. My first biblical image? They are David going after Goliath.
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
David versus Goliath gives image of the twelve stepping into the world, it also should give hint of the outcome. The young shepherd defeats a behemoth, defeats the beast with what? A slingshot and some stones, that’s what the story implies. The story implies those simple devices, but that boy has something behind him too. Something that gives him strength, strength to go into battle and be victorious. David is an anointed one, the Apostles are too. Seemingly small they have the power of God standing beside them. If their opponent is strong, they are stronger. Looks can be deceiving. Most know how both stories continue. David is victorious, Christ’s Apostles continue their mission undefeated. Their commission continues to this day. The empire has not defeated them, no matter how hard it tries.
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of men,
for they will hand you over to courts
I say the Apostles mission continues, and that they have not been defeated, but I dare not say the opponent has surrendered. Mt 10:24-33 Read a newspaper, turn on the television, eavesdrop on a conversation. What’s all the chatter about, and can anyone spot an agenda? Its more than liberal versus conservative, or the donkey and an elephant. Odd image that last one! Its the social agenda, or I should say agendas. Many align with their parties. They are the truths and the lies interspersed amongst battling fractions perched on a soapbox. Each claiming to be David and both acting like a Goliath. Power proclaiming its story.
But where are those disciples, where can they be seen? The mission continues, and the opponent flexes its muscle. Its puffed up and well fed, well financed and organized and well seated on a gilded earthly throne. The disciples, distressed and tormented, they are under attack. Values and beliefs under siege, plundered. Attacked verbally by the media, by a well fed army. The disciples are called the devil, even though many see their good works. But then again, maybe they don’t see , that mighty opponent is blind and crippled, though they do not know. Blinded by a false message proclaimed by an overstretched authority. Crippled by corruption and coin, the same corruption the disciples were commanded to avoid. The apostles mission, to defeat and also to heal. Don’t miss that word heal. To heal the cripple, to restore sight to the blind, to add salve to a wound.
“Therefore do not be afraid of them.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
The opponent armed with power and gold and supported through propagandists.The disciples, armed with a simple truth as proclaimed by their LORD. It seems like the battle of David and Goliath continues today. We all know how it ends, even though some refuse to admit it. Such is the power of deception. The lie will fall, and truth will prevail. The kingdom of God is at hand. It truly is. The story told three times. One, David and Goliath. Two, the Apostles and the world. Three, those that listened to those disciples and their world today.1,2,3.