Read: Matthew 9:1-8, 35

Jesus went . . . proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease. (v. 35)

Matthew 9:35-39 acts like a hinge joining the stories of Jesus’ ministry in chapter 9 with the sending of Jesus’ disciples in chapter 10. These five verses give us a summary of what Jesus saw, felt, and did, plus how Jesus planned to spread the gospel of the kingdom. Together, Matthew 9-10 helps us see how Jesus wants us to engage our world, too. This time of year is a fine time to think fresh about our part in Jesus’ mission. Schools begin, church programs launch, and farmers gear up for harvest. So let’s dig into these verses.

Matthew 9 begins with Jesus returning home. As soon as he gets out of the boat, he commences teaching and healing. More precisely, he teaches while he heals. People bring a paralyzed man they hope Jesus will heal. Jesus does more: he forgives the man’s sins! He demonstrates the authority of God that is able both to make the lame walk and the sinner whole.

This is the good news of the kingdom! It’s how verse 35 sums up what Jesus did: “proclaiming the gospel . . . and healing every disease.” Word and deed join in powerful demonstration of God’s glory. This is the mission Jesus will send the disciples to do in Matthew 10. It’s our mission too. As you begin this month, look for God’s prompting to engage your world in word and deed that brings the hope of Jesus to the lives of people. —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, thank God for his power to heal and to forgive.