Any author will tell you that the cast of characters is central to every great story. In the true stories of the New Testament, we find a large cast of characters throughout. This character list includes both men and women who support the ministry of Jesus and the work of his Church. Mary and Martha, though they aren’t apostles, play as vital of a role in the gospels as James and John. What can we learn from the New Testament about the work of men and women together in God’s mission to the world?
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SCRIPTURE: Luke 6:12–16; 8:1–3; Matthew 28:16–20
12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
CONFESSION OF SIN
Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, you never sleep nor slumber.
Yet we doubt your work in the world.
Lord Jesus Christ, you accomplished the work of salvation on the cross,
Yet we try to save ourselves and our communities.
Holy Spirit, you give generous gifts to all your people for the sake of the world.
Yet we value some gifts and use them for our own glory while diminishing others.
Lord, forgive us. Renew with us a passion for your mission. Use each of us to send the gospel to the nations. Amen.