Connections 06.18.2023: Bodies and Souls

Matthew 9:35–10:8

In our lesson text, we read about Jesus fulfilling his mission of bringing God’s kingdom to earth. How does he do this? He teaches, proclaiming the good news, and he shows compassion by curing sickness and disease. God’s kingdom includes both good news for souls and healing for bodies.

My husband’s sister Rebecca and her family are missionaries in Burkina Faso, Africa. This war-torn and impoverished region is filled with people in desperate need of hope and sustenance of all kinds. Rebecca, her husband Keith, and their children spend much of their time running Bible camps, holding church services, hosting small-group Bible studies, and visiting neighborhoods with tracts that share the good news of Christ. They are intent on the souls of the people.

But they also spend much of their time building churches, digging wells to fresh water, cooking meals, and sharing their home and belongings. They attend weddings, hold babies, provide childcare, and teach healthy ways of life. They are intent on the bodies of the people too.

This kind of ministry mirrors Jesus’s ministry in the best way. Jesus was certainly about preaching and teaching. He cared about what would happen to his listeners’ souls in the afterlife. And he was also about showing compassion and offering healing. He cared about what was happening to his listeners’ bodies right now. When they needed to hear the good news, Jesus shared it with them. When they needed nourishment and help with their illnesses, Jesus gave that to them.

May our ministries be like that of Jesus Christ—focusing on people’s bodies and souls. May we minister to the whole person with compassion the way Jesus did.


• Do you know of or have you participated in ministries that focused entirely on “saving souls”? How were these ministries carried out, and what was their effect on people?
• Do you know of or have you participated in ministries that focused entirely on bodily needs? How were they carried out, and what was their effect on people?
• What ministries work hard to focus on the whole person—body and soul—in ways that share the good news of the gospel and also meet desperate physical and emotional needs?
• Why is it important to minister the way Jesus did, with urgency for people’s lost souls and with compassion for their needs?
• What can you do this week to minister to people’s bodies and souls?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.


For further resources, subscribe to the Connections Teaching Guide and Commentary. Additionally, the Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary series is a scholarly but accessible means for enhancing your study of each lesson.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email