Day Three Hundred Four, Matt. 9-11, Mark 6, Luke 9, Matt. 14
In today's brief reading, Jesus, after going through all the towns teaching, preaching, and healing, decides it is time to send His apostles out with the message of the kingdom. Scripture says when Jesus saw the crowds, "he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" Another beautiful reminder that the Lord has compassion on His people, He was sensitive to their needs, and He was willing and able to fulfill them. He recognized that the fields were ripe, and it was time to send out workers.
Jesus gives His apostles authority over disease and evil spirits. He gives them instructions on what to (or not to) take with them and what to do as they go. He also gives them warning that they should expect to meet with some opposition/rejection, but He encourages them not to be afraid of that.
As He speaks even more about being willing to sacrifice in order to be His disciple, He says, "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
That last sentence of His is a testimony to the fact that true life, abundant life, is only in Christ.