The CalledBrandi Pemberton
During the American Civil War, there was a group of individuals who organized with the sole purpose of meeting the spiritual needs of soldiers. The United States Christian Commission provided battlefield soldiers with access to chapel services, Christian literature, spiritual counsel, medical supplies, and social services. They sent civilians—social workers and volunteer preachers—to minister to, educate, and serve soldiers on the battlefield, regardless of allegiance or race. The USCC’s mission was simply to help, and what they accomplished was profound. It is a powerful thing when people live on mission, when they courageously live according to what they’ve been called.
- Would you describe yourself as a person who lives on mission? Why or why not?
Read the Word
Matthew 10:1-4 (ESV)
10 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
- Jesus summoned the twelve disciples and gave them authority over what? For what purpose did he give this authority? Why do you think Jesus imbued them with the power to do these miraculous things in his name?
- Before naming the Twelve, notice that Matthew referred to them as “apostles.” The title connotes those who are commissioned as messengers of the gospel. Make observations about the descriptions given to these men. Which of the apostles stands out to you, and why? Also, why do you think Matthew listed them in pairs?
- Although we are not apostles in the sense that these men were, as followers of Jesus we, too, have been called by him and commissioned to share his gospel. How does this commission play out in your everyday life?
Respond to God
In this select group of Christ followers, there were quick-tempered “Sons of Thunder” brothers (Mark 3:17), a passionate man with religious fervor, a former employee of Rome who was spurned by his own people, and a thief who would prove himself to be shockingly unfaithful (John 12:6). Although these men had individual histories, identities, and hang-ups, they had a singular call and mission in Christ. The Twelve were not entirely remarkable, nor were they holy, but they were called. Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the one who bids and empowers people for his purpose. We simply have the privilege of heeding his call and responding to his mission.
- Ask God to equip and empower you in your calling to be on mission for Jesus.