“The Christian life is never meant to be lived alone.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 17, 2022
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. 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; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Matthew 10:1-4, ESV
Do you struggle with long lists of biblical names? Perhaps you are tempted to skip over these verses and get to something more interesting or relevant to your Christian walk. We wonder how in the world a list of ancient people can possibly be relevant or meaningful in our current day. We assume they are a necessary record for historical purposes, but otherwise easily dismissed and quickly skimmed.
I’m not convinced this is the correct posture toward these passages.
If every part of Scripture contains the story of God’s faithfulness to his people and the creation that he loves, then each and every verse is given and preserved for a reason, and lists of people are no exception! Often these lists tell a familial story, linking one great leader of the faith to another, such as Adam to Noah (Genesis 5) or a list of ancestors from the tribes of Israel (1 Chronicles 1ff). Similarly, in Matthew 1 we encounter the famous genealogy of Jesus Christ, revealing him to be the royal descendant of King David. Yet today in Matthew 10 we’re given a different sort of list, and if we aren’t careful in our reading we’ll skim over it and miss the key point of emphasis Matthew seeks to convey in this chapter: the Christian life is never meant to be lived alone.
Rather than a random listing of the twelve disciples, here we are given a careful account of ministry done in pairs. Simon and his brother Andrew. James and his brother John. Philip and Bartholomew. And on the list goes. Each of these men, loyal to Christ and eager to serve his kingdom, were given a partner in ministry to walk alongside them, lifting them when they fell and encouraging them when they were weak. This is not a coincidence, for as Mark tells us in his gospel, Christ called them and sent them out two by two (Mark 6:7).
Whatever your own life situation may look like and whatever your ministry for Christ may be, remember to keep this ancient model close to heart. You were not meant to serve and journey in isolation. To be a Christian is to be welcomed into the community of the Trinity, and our earthly journey must reflect this as well. Often, this “pairing up” is seen in the marriage relationship, as husband and wife serve alongside one another, yet as our reading today reminds us, it is often a sibling or close friend that can fill this role.
Be intentional in seeking out a trusted friend and partner with whom you can serve in the name of Christ, for this is the very model Jesus gave to his church!
Father, thank you for the gift of friendship and partners in ministry, men and women that remind us that we are not alone but are instead seen, known, and loved, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Consider ways you may be journeying alone when the Lord is instead inviting you to “pair up” and walk this road alongside another.
John 15:12-15; Colossians 3:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Fanny Crosby feat. All Sons & Daughters: We Are Waiting
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