I was just back to work after having my second child when I was offered the opportunity to lead a really big, strategically-important project. This project would have high visibility, but also high risk. I wasn’t sure I was ready to take on something like this with an infant and a two year old at home. Could I handle all of this – the long hours, high stress, high risk of failure? How do we face any of the big challenges life presents?
Today’s lesson is about Peter being asked to accept a high risk assignment, one fraught with danger and difficulty. One that might have sent many of us running for the hills, not wanting to step into such a challenge.
We’ll look at Matthew chapter 10 today. It’s a long passage so I’ll pull out some key points, but I encourage you to give the whole chapter a read (or check out this video version).
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[callout]Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter)” (Matthew 10:1-2a NIV)[/callout]
Peter was offered the assignment of a lifetime – to become an apostle of Jesus. A job which came with some amazing perks, such as being part of Jesus’ inner circle and the ability to perform some of the same miracles they’d been watching Jesus do.
Then, Jesus explains the risks of the assignment…
The rest of Matthew chapter 10 explains the kind of risks, danger and difficulty which come with this assignment. They will face towns which do not welcome them, arrest and imprisonment, betrayal and persecution, even death.
Change brings both risk and reward. How well you navigate change depends on where you place your focus.
Would you say “yes” to this assignment? Why would Peter, a simple fisherman, have said “yes”?
Peter and the apostles could only have accepted this assignment through faith. They were selected for this through prayer. We see in Luke 6:12-16, that Jesus spent the night before in prayer before deciding who to select for this job.
[callout]One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: (Luke 6:12-13 NIV)[/callout]
They knew Jesus and his teaching by now. They’d been following him for a while and were beginning to understand some of who he was. They’d seen him perform miracles, so knew these tasks – driving out demons and healing the sick – were possible.
They’d heard him him preach so many times that they knew what to say, even though they weren’t trained preachers or speakers. They were equipped with Jesus’ authority and with the Holy Spirit.
[callout]“But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:19-20 NIV)[/callout]
We also see in Mark 6:7 that Jesus sent them out in pairs. He didn’t send them to face these challenges alone, but in pairs to support and encourage each other.
[callout]Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. (Mark 6:7 NIV)[/callout]
How can we apply this to the challenges we face in life? Will you focus on risk or reward?
1) We can take our decisions and challenges to God in prayer. Ask Him for guidance and support.
2) We can commit Jesus’ teachings to heart, so we’re able to rest in his authority over evil and are able to recall his messages of hope when we need encouragement.
3) We can find support in community. We don’t have to walk through our challenges alone.
Read this passage for yourself: Matthew 10:1-42.
Reflect on the questions below:
1) What does this passage tell you about Jesus?
2) How does this passage speak to you as you face challenges in your own life?
3) How can you apply one of these three points to a change you’re facing today?
If you want to dig deeper into the life and lessons of Peter, I highly recommend two books:
“A Fragile Stone: The Emotional Life of Simon Peter”, by Michael Card and “The Fisherman: A Novel”, by Larry Huntsperger
[callout]This post is part of the “A Better Change” series. For more information on this series and to find related posts, click here: A Better Change Series – Overview[/callout]