In the chapters of Matthew following the Sermon on the Mount, we see Jesus as the Great Redeemer! He stretches out His hand to cleanse a leper, completely redeeming the diseased man’s life. Then with just His word, Jesus heals a centurion’s servant. He heal’s Peter’s mother-in-law, and then cast out spirits from demon-possessed people and healed the sick. He moves on from that town and travels by boat to “the other side” (a reference to traveling from the Jewish land to the land of the Gentiles). While on “the other side” He casts out evil spirits from two demon-possessed men, and the city came out to tell Him to leave.
In the next chapter, He heals a paralytic, redeeming the man’s broken body. From there He invites Matthew to follow Him, redeeming Matthew from the stigma of working for the Romans as a tax-collector. He heals a woman who has suffered from severe bleeding, and even raises a young girl from the dead. He heals two blind men, and then casts a demon out of a man who was unable to speak. Truly Jesus is the Great Redeemer!
After all of this, Matthew offers this description:
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35–38, ESV)
Not only was Jesus the Great Redeemer when He walked the earth, seemingly performing miracles everywhere He went, but Jesus is still the Great Redeemer now. When He looked at the multitudes and had compassion for them, He prayed to the Lord of the harvest for YOU! He prayed that workers would reach you, so that your life could be redeemed. And He prayed that you would join Him in the harvest work… that you would become a laborer in the harvest. Jesus is still redeeming today, and He is inviting us to join Him in that redemptive work. That is, after all, why it is called the “Great CO-mission”. We are not doing it for Him, we are doing it with Him. He alone is the Great Redeemer.
Beginning with chapter 10 of the Gospel of Matthew, the disciples who have been following Jesus enter in to a new phase of ministry. Up to that point they have really only been watching Jesus do the work. Jesus has been healing. Jesus has been proclaiming. Jesus has been doing the work of the ministry. Here in chapter 10 He chooses twelve of the disciples and essentially says, ‘Now you go and do what you have seen Me do.”
In essence, Jesus begins to answer His own prayer from the end of chapter 9. He is not content to simply pray for harvest workers. He sets out to actually equip harvest workers!
Of course, He is not finished working, Himself. In fact, after instructing his twelve disciples He went on from there to teach and preach in their cities (see Matthew 11:1).