Welcome to Wednesday’s Podcast. Our reading today is Luke 9: 1-17 but today I’m going to focus on verse 1-2:
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Last Friday my colleague Dave talked about the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8) – the parable leaves us with this question: will the seed, the word of God – grow in hearts of good soil and in the words of Luke ‘produce a good crop…’?
This week we’ve seen Jesus’ power at work – his power to heal; his power to restore; his power of the physical world – we’ve seen that the Kingdom of God is power; we’ve seen that it’s the building of a new society where the marginalised and disempowered are included.
Today it’s the disciples’ turn.
They’ve watched Jesus – they’ve seen him first hand. Now it’s time to give it a go.
Jesus gives them power and authority to do what he’s done.
Such is God’s great love and incredible grace – we even though we stumble – get to do what he does.
Human beings are by nature independent. ‘I can do this…’ ‘I did this…’ – on my own without any help.
Jesus says you can do what I do but here’s the catch – you have to surrender your independence by virtue your self reliance.
Hence why in verses 3-5 he lists all the things they either can’t take or have to limit – it exposes their vulnerabilities and means in this case they have to rely on other people and ultimately on God.
One way we’re to rely on Jesus is mission and evangelism.
I often think this one area that it’s easy for us not to rely on God. Often because church has made mission about arguing people into the kingdom so we work hard on our arguments or we’ve tried to make church so cool and trendy that our trust is more in our coolness than a simple trust in Jesus.
Jesus here talks about what we term in our church ‘people of peace…’ find those people who are open. If you’re part of STC you’ll have heard this before and will hear it again: people who are open to you; like you and want to help you.
It’s God that converts. It’s God that convicts. It’s the Spirit that draws people to him – our job is to play our part and let him play his part.
Our job is to trust God.
In my previous church I remember some Missional Community leaders wanting to meet me. They had lots of people connected to their group. They were concerned about a fellow leader – she was talking too much about Jesus and thought it would put people off.
It’s easy for fear to creep in – so we don’t talk about Jesus for anxiety we’ll put people off. It’s so tempting to become self reliant.
No, we’re to trust. We’re also to keep our eyes open. Who are the people around us who are open to us: do they like us? Help us? Listen to us?
For those who have heard this teaching before it’s easy to fix on only two or three people and perhaps get a little discouraged when we don’t see much change.
But the passage encourages us to always be on the look out.
Last week our window cleaner called to clean the windows. Our son, Theo, followed him around the house watching his every move. I felt a gentle nudge from God to offer him a coffee – proper coffee in a big mug.
At the end we started a conversation and things developed. As we were talking I was struck by what a thoughtful guy this was… in fact the conversation was going so well I wondered if he had any other work that day.
Then came the nudge from the Lord – invite him on Alpha.
So, I did – ‘you know that church on Crookes…’ – the one with all the glass – yep that’s the one.
The conversation really opened up. He wasn’t religious but was interested and believed that there’s something ‘out-there…’
I knew he was open. 1) he was open to us as a family – if you can take a four year old waving at you from every room you have grace 2) he talked and was friendly – he was interested 3) the Lord was before me.
The kingdom message is to be spread – we’re the spreaders but the Lord goes before us.
There are people like my window cleaner everywhere. Not literally cleaning windows – metaphorically I mean. Our call is not to be discouraged by those who aren’t open but to remain open and keep looking for those who are.
READING: Luke 9:1-17
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal those who were ill. He told them: ‘Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.
Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, ‘I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?’ And he tried to see him.
When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.’
He replied, ‘You give them something to eat.’
They answered, ‘We have only five loaves of bread and two fish – unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.’ (About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, ‘Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.’ The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.