Readings for the Second Sunday after Pentecost

Matthew 9:35-10:8; Romans 5:6-15; Exodus 19:2-8

Imagine a cornfield in which the plants are bent over from high winds, their leaves pockmarked by hail and withered by lack of rain. That is the scene, but what do you see? Some will see cause for despair while others will see a call to action. I suppose what you see depends on what you are able to do.

As Jesus toured the towns and villages of his homeland, he saw people devastated by disease, demon-possession, and corrupt leadership. But as he looked at that sorry scene, Jesus said the most amazing thing: “The harvest is plentiful (!), but the workers are few.” Where anyone else would see a hopeless cause, Jesus saw human souls that were ripe for salvation, people hungry for good news — and Jesus himself is that good news (Matt 9)!

Jesus looks at you with that same compassion. Though you may be lost, confused or hurting, Jesus sees you as one he came to save. In your brokenness you are ripe for his salvation. 

In the Epistle reading Paul proclaims the good news in the most beautifully clear words, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God does not wait for people to get their own house in order before He comes to their aid. Don’t listen to those who say God only helps those who help themselves. That’s just not true — thanks be to God! (Rom 5).

In the Old Testament reading the LORD brought His people Israel out to Mt. Sinai where He laid out His glorious vision for them. By His guidance they were to be set apart as a light to all nations on earth, a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exod 19).