“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” vss. 5-6
While Jesus did have occasional encounters with Gentiles during the course of his ministry, and granted their requests for healing, it seems clear from the gospel record that he considered his call to have been to the house of Israel. Accordingly, he mostly traveled in areas with a largely Jewish population, and that’s where he did his preaching, teaching, and healing. It’s not that he didn’t care about Gentiles or their needs, but his mission, as he understood it, had a narrow focus. Later on, after his death and resurrection, things changed, and the good news went out to the entire world. There’s obvious wisdom in that approach, and as the disciples continued his work, it’s what they did too. They went to particular places and particular people, and spread the gospel one person at a time. That’s still the best practice even with our advanced communication technologies–a message that is broadcast to the widest possible audience misses the interpersonal loving connections that are the strength of Christ’s message. Our faith communities are at their best when they narrow their focus and don’t even try to be all things to all people. When each one teaches one, millions can be reached. And that’s how the love of Christ has ultimately been spread to the ends of the earth!
Thought for the Day: What one person is my mission field today?