This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Daily Devotional | A Peculiar Mission Daily Devotional | A Peculiar Mission

Daily Devotional | A Peculiar Mission

Billy Graham was famous for his large evangelistic meetings. He followed in the steps of other evangelists, such as George Whitefield and D. L. Moody. Graham was a pioneer in evangelism by radio and television. His aim was to invite all people by whatever means necessary to put their faith in Christ.

The mission statement in today’s passage seems much narrower by comparison. When Jesus first sent out the twelve, He included this surprising stipulation: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel” (vv. 5–6). If Jesus really is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, why didn’t He send the apostles to Gentiles as well as Jews? The answer is that Jesus did just that, but only after the Resurrection.

Some scholars call this mission the “little commission” to distinguish it from the “great commission” (Matt. 28:16–20). On this occasion they came as representatives of Israel’s Messiah, announcing the imminent approach of the kingdom in the person of Jesus Christ (v. 7). They were authorized to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons. These were not marketing techniques or relief work, but signs of divine power and authority which served as proof of the nearness of the kingdom (Acts 2:22).

The focus of the apostles’ message changed after the Resurrection. The theme of the kingdom did not disappear (Acts 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31). But now they proclaimed it in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Paul would later summarize it as “the message of the cross” (1 Cor. 1:18). His priorities mirrored those established by Christ: to the Jew first and also to the Gentile (Rom. 1:16; 2:10).

>> We are not bound by the limitations of the “little” commission. We can take along an extra shirt or more than one pair of shoes. But we are bound by the same gospel. We must preach faith in Christ as the only way to enter His kingdom.

Pray with Us

Another surprise in today’s Scripture: Jesus sending His disciples “to the lost sheep of Israel.” As Passover begins today, let’s remember to pray for the Jewish people. May they know Christ and understand His gospel.

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

Find Daily Devotionals by Month