“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” (Matthew 9:36-38)
What is expected of a disciple of Christ? How is a disciple a physical representative of Jesus? What impact should this have on the life of a Christian? We find some answers to such questions as we read how Jesus commissioned and empowered His disciples to preach the gospel of the Kingdom. Unfortunately many focus on the signs and miracles that accompanied their preaching and maintain that these should occur today. Those signs the apostles performed were meant to attract people into the Kingdom, to show them that God Himself was testifying to the truth of their preaching.
Though many in the Christian church today are drawn to the ministry of power, signs and miracles, less attractive is the rest of the job description of the disciple. Jesus calls His disciples to a life of rejection, misunderstanding, antagonism, persecution, self-denial, self-sacrifice and servanthood. Jesus calls the disciple to lose his life for the sake of the Kingdom. This does not necessarily mean death by martyrdom. That is not the calling of most believers. What is common to every believer, however, is death to individual wants and desires on a daily basis. We ought to pray that we would be willing to surrender ourselves in God’s service so that He, not we, may be exalted.