I once had someone throw this verse at me with the accusation that I wasn’t doing enough, not fulfilling the office of pastor properly, because ‘there is so much more that you need to be doing, things like Matthew 10.8…’. Here is what the part he threw at me says:
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons…”
I wasn’t pastoring properly because I had never healed anyone, resuscitated or resurrected anyone, cleansed anyone of disease or forgiven sins, and had not battled with and cast out demons. This came as quite a shock to me, mainly because I never considered myself to be part of these twelve that Jesus addresses in Matthew 10.5. I also quite like going on [roads] that lead to Gentile regions (v.5). Actually, I’m from a Gentile region, live in a Gentile region, and where I serve now minister exclusively to Gentiles. But, ‘you’re not doing anything from Matthew 10.8, you need to be doing more…’ said my accuser.
Matthew 10.8 is not the remit of your pastor, not the charge for you as a Christian, or even the collective call for your church family. Matthew 9.35 begins a section wherein Jesus displays His power, notes that He is going to need co-labourers in His task (9.38), gives authority and ability to His twelve disciples (10.1), then sends them out to proclaim and reinforce and spread His message of salvation (10.5-42). Matthew 10.8 is not the remit of your pastor, not the charge for you as a Christian, and is not the the collective call for your church family.
It does, however, show us how Jesus sought to establish and expand His teaching and message initially during His earthly ministry. Twelve hands and feet are better than one, and the Lord’s willingness to entrust His life-saving and life-changing message of salvation to others should stir us to want to be involved now.
There is still a place for pastors, believers, and churches to take the good news message of Jesus to others. No, we’re not all called to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons, but we are all called to tell – through words and actions – others about Jesus.