Posts Tagged ‘Disciple’

Luke 15:11-24 The Parable of the Prodigal: The Father and the Younger Son

September 7, 2009
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt

"The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Rembrandt

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to [1] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ [2] 22 But the father said to his servants, [3]‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

  • The main point:  The wonderful love and forgiving grace of God, ready to welcome back sinners at the first sign of repentance.
  • That is the obvious point.  However, there is deeper meaning to this parable.
  • The younger son brought shame and disgrace to the father.  To ask for his inheritance before his father was dead was like saying, “Dad, I wish you were dead.”  Then to sell the his share of the land to some stranger for money was shameful.  Possession of land was extremely important to Jewish families in Jesus’ time.  To just go and sell it for money was unheard of.  Imagine the pain and shame the Father felt.  But he allows this to happen without argument.  He just hands over the son’s portion of the inheritance without question.  No father in Jesus’ day would allow that to happen.
  • And to add insult to injury, the younger son leaves home for the big city abandoning his family.  In our culture it is quite common for children to leave home in the country to make their way in the big city, however in Jesus’ culture sons didn’t leave their families.  This would be viewed as even more shameful.  Again, the Father lets the son go without question.
  • Finally, with all his money wasted the younger son lands a job feeding pigs.  Jewish people and pigs don’t mix.  This would not be viewed as an honorable profession.  To the Jewish son this would be the lowest of all possible lows.
  • But how remarkable is the Father?  Or should we say the Running Father?  He was the father, the head of the family, a distinguished elder in his community.  But he sees his son and runs to greet him.  Jewish elders did not run for anyone.  To run would be considered undignified, an act that was beneath his position in life.  But this Father runs as soon as he says his son far away in the distance and doesn’t stop until he reaches him.
  • “His lavish welcome is of course the point of the story: Jesus is explaining why there is a party, why it’s something to celebrate when people turn from going their own way and begin to go God’s way…..the father’s closing line says it all. ‘This my son was dead and is alive.  He was lost and now is found.’  How could this not be a cause of celebration?” N. T. Wright
  • There is another dimension of this story that exists.  Consider the exodus from Egypt and then the subsequent exile into Babylon many years later.  Although many of the exiles returned, most of Jesus’ contemporaries believed they were still living in virtual exile under pagan rule.  They were all waiting for a new exodus, to be liberated from the pagan powers.  The story of the prodigal son would be seen by many as a reference to the hope of Israel.  The concept of resurrection was used commonly to refer to the true return from exile.  This point would be nailed home when the Father says, “This son was dead and is alive.”
  • Jesus was declaring that the new exodus was happening at that very moment.  When people repent and turn to God they are returning from exile.  God was fulfilling his promise to Israel but not in a way that was expected by the religious leaders.  Wasn’t that a good reason to throw a party?  Jesus thought it was.
  • So back to the main point of this parable, God’s costly love.  There is probably no better illustration in all the Bible of what God’s love is like (aside from the Cross).  It is now up to me to imitate and share this love with all those lost sons in the world.  Will I imitate the father or will I act like the older son?  We will deal with that question in the next post.

Luke 14:12-24 The Parable of the Great Banquet

September 3, 2009

Somehow I skipped this passage so I’m posting it up now.

The Parable of the Great Banquet

12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers [1] or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant [2] to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, [3] none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

  • vs. 12-14 Once again, Jesus tells people to do something contrary to normal thinking.  Don’t invite family and friends, but invite the poor and disabled.
  • Jesus means for this advice to be taken literally.  This first part is not a parable, the parable follows in verses 15-24.  Who am I inviting to dinner?
  • vs 15-24 The parable of the great banquet.  Those who are invited to the party refuse to come.  They have excuses.  They may seem legitimate but they are unacceptable.  The master will have guests at his party and therefore goes and invites those in unconventional locations.
  • The first level of meaning.  Jesus has been traveling around inviting people to God’s great banquet.  But more often than not, he is refused.  Recall the parable of the sower, most of the seed falls on soil which is unfruitful.  However, some have accepted the invitation; the poor and disabled.
  • The second level of meaning.  The expected guests at God’s banquet are the Jewish people.  They are the invited ones.  But like the parable, they have too many excuses and refuse the invitation.  Of course, many Jewish people in Luke’s time did accept the invitation but the majority of them did not.  Therefore, God’s messengers went out to the Gentiles and to the entire world to invite people to the party.
  • The third level of meaning.  To join the party you have to accept and welcome all who are there.  God’s banquet is for all people.  There is no room for prejudice or self-righteousness.
  • “Once again, therefore, the challenge comes to us today.  Christians reading this, anywhere in the world, must work out in their own churches and families what it would mean to celebrate God’s kingdom so that the people at the bottom of the pile, at the end of the line, would find it good news.  It isn’t enough to say that we ourselves are the people dragged in from the country lanes, to our surprise, to enjoy God’s party.  That may be true; but party guests are then expected to become party hosts in their turn.” N.T. Wright
  • What a great quote.  Party guests are to become part hosts.  Am I just a guest or am I a host?  Am I being selective in who I invite to the party?  Do I see people at the party and wish they weren’t there?  These are serious questions I need to answer.  These are serious questions that any true disciple of Jesus Christ needs to answer.

Luke 14:25-35 The Cost of Discipleship

July 24, 2009

Are you willing to pay the price?

Are you willing to pay the price?

The Cost of Discipleship

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Salt Without Taste Is Worthless

34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

  • “Imagine a politician standing on a soap-box addressing a crowd, ‘If you’re going to vote for me,’ he says, ‘you’re voting to lose your homes and families; your asking for higher taxes and lower wages; you’re deciding in favor of losing all you love best! So come on. Who’s on  my side?'” N.T. Wright  Who would vote for this guy?  But isn’t this exactly what Jesus is saying?
  • Imagine, instead of a politician, a leader of a great expedition, passing through a very dangerous high mountain pass on a mission to bring emergency medical aid to a remote village.  He warns those with him that if they are to go any further with him, they would have to drop their packs and leave them behind because the path is to steep to carry them.  Once left, the packs would gone forever.  Also the path was extremely dangerous and they may not make it back to see their families.  This sounds hard but we can understand it better.
  • Jesus is more like the expedition leader than the politician.
  • Hate your family?  What about family values?  Hate myself?  Be prepared to die a shameful death (this is what he meant by saying we must carry our own cross)?  “Jesus is not denying the importance of close family, and the propriety of living in supportive harmony with them.  But when there is an urgent task to be done, as there now is, then everything else, including ones own life, must be put to risk for the sake of the Kingdom.” N.T. Wright
  • The same is true of possessions.  We must be prepared to give them up.  We must be prepared to give up everything.  If not then we are like the tower-builder or the king of 10,000 men.
  • The tower-builder.  What was the most important building project of Jesus’ day?  The Temple in Jerusalem, conducted by Herod the Great.  Would this project be completed?
  • The king of 10,000 men.  Israel wanted to go to war against Rome.  Did they realize who Rome was?  Jesus has been consistently warning Israel and urging them towards peace.  However, his warnings fell on dead ears.  Israel was the King with 10,000 men.
  • Israel was meant to be the salt of the earth.  Jesus is warning them about what will happen if they don’t listen to him.  They would be like the tower-builder who didn’t finish his tower and the King who didn’t make peace.  They would be thrown away.
  • What about me?  I counted the cost when I became a disciple of Jesus Christ.  I said I will go any where and do anything for the sake of Jesus and his Kingdom.  I vowed to complete what I started.  I surrendered myself and made peace with God under his terms.  I put Jesus and his Kingdom before my own family.  But what about now?  I must continue to count the cost every day I wake up.  I need to ask myself, will I give up everything for Jesus today?  Will I complete the tower?  Will I surrender and ask for peace?  Discipleship is not a one time deal but a 24/7 lifestyle.  If I can’t answer yes to these questions every day then I can not be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  This is a challenging passage and one that easily gets over looked.  Jesus was serious.  This is the cost of discipleship.

Luke 11:42-54 Woes Against the Pharisees

June 3, 2009

42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”

45 One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48 So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. 52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

53 As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, 54 lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.

  • Who are the Pharisees of our day?  Two points about the pharisees: 1.  The set of rules they adhered to were designed to make people keep the Jewish law (Torah) as best they could, so that Israel would be holy and thus God would bring in the Kingdom.  2.  They were a pressure group.  Similar to Green Peace or PETA.  Their rules and teachings had political motivations and they would push those rules on people to follow.
  • Jesus knew what the pharisees were about and he knew that the people of Israel had a choice to make.  “It wasn’t a matter of petty rules or of a pure, uncluttered religion of love and grace.  It was a matter of an agenda which focused on the law as the charter of Israel’s national life, on the one hand, and an agenda which demanded repentance, turning away from Israel’s headlong flight into national rebellion, politically against Rome and theologically against God.  There could be no compromise.” N.T. Wright
  • Jesus could see where the teachings and attitudes of the pharisees would lead.  That is why he pronounces this list of woes.  He knew the hurt and destruction it would cause.
  • “Scribes” or “Lawyers” in the first century were trained in writing legal documents.  They, like the pharisees, believed the law of Israel should be applied to every area of life.  They were like a combo religious teacher and legal attorney.  Jesus’ teaching cut to the core of their entire belief system.  It is no wonder why they opposed Jesus so fiercely.  This opposition would carry on all the way to Jerusalem.
  • Wright ends this section with this excellent question, “Where does the Gospel of Jesus confront, not just alternative religious or would be Christian views today, but the strongly held agendas out in the wider world?” N.T. Wright

Luke 11:14-28 Jesus and Beelzebul

May 29, 2009

Jesus and Beelzebul

14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” 16 while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Return of an Unclean Spirit

24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

True Blessedness

27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

  • There were two ways to explain how Jesus could command the demons.  Either he was using power given to him by God or he was somehow in league with Satan (Beelzebul or Beelzebub, a nickname meaning Lord of flies, used as a way to refer to the source of evil).
  • Jesus’ opponents knew that if they could get people to believe that Jesus was in league with Satan, then they could reject his teaching and turn people against him.  As Jesus said, “If your not with me, your against me.”
  • Of course Jesus explains that what they are saying is not true but the opposite is true.  If Satan opposes himself then he is divided and has already lost the  battle.  And what about the Jewish exorcists?  What power do they use?  Are they in league with Satan as well?  This is the arguement that Jesus presents.
  • Now Jesus is more then just another exorcist.  He casts out demons by “the finger of God”.  This phrase echoes Exodus 8:19 where Moses performed great wonders that the magicians of Egypt could not reproduce.  The God of the Exodus is at work in the world through Jesus.  This is the same power that will defeat death at the end of this Gospel.  Jesus has tied up the strongman and can now run his household.
  • Jesus ends with a warning.  If we cleanse ourselves from evil and do not replace the evil with good then the evil will return worse than before.  Wright likens this to Israel being cleansed from evil, similar to the demon possessed man.  If God does not dwell with them then Israel will be vulnerable to the demon’s return.  Jesus was the return of God to Israel, if they did not accept him then the evil which led them to ruin in the past would return.
  • Jesus gets some unlikely support from a woman in the crowd.  “When the word of God is at work, what is required is not applause but obedience.”  Am I keeping the word of God?

Luke 10:17-24 The Celebration of Jesus

May 18, 2009

The Return of the Seventy-Two

17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus Rejoices in the Father’s Will

21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. [1] 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

  • Luke reveals the nature of the battle that Jesus was waging.  This was a spiritual battle against the powers of darkness.  Jesus began his ministry with a private battle against Satan in the desert.  This victory Jesus won was now being experienced by the seventy.  
  • Satan – the accuser.  Satan tricks people into disobeying God and then accuses them.  Satan holds power because he has deceived this world.  
  • Jesus’ task is to defeat Satan, to break his power, to usher in God’s new creation where evil and death are no more.
  • Jesus has seen the victory.  Jesus has seen Satan fall.  Jesus knew the work of the seventy was indeed a part of this great victory which would be finalized on the cross.  However, he cautions them to not just be caught up in their new powers but to be focused on God’s purpose and that they are part of it.
  • Jesus celebrates the inclusiveness of God’s Kingdom.  Anyone could receive it.  It wasn’t just for the elite and intelligent.  The knowledge of God’s Kingdom was to be shared by all.  In the words of Paul, God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.  This was a special time and Israel’s rules and teachers were blind to it.
  • God’s purpose was moving forward.  A new people was being created.  Those that recognized Jesus as God’s son, the messiah and were learning to know God as the Father.

Luke 9:46-62 The Nature of Discipleship

May 13, 2009

luke-for-everyoneWho Is the Greatest?

46 An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. 47 But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

Anyone Not Against Us Is For Us

49 John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”

A Samaritan Village Rejects Jesus

51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” [1] 55 But he turned and rebuked them. [2] 56 And they went on to another village.

The Cost of Following Jesus

57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus [3] said to him,“Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

  • In the first century, people didn’t travel much.  Most people stayed in the towns and villages where they were born their entire lives.  However, the Jews in Galilee regularly made one journey: the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  While traveling the people would tell the story of the great Exodus from Egypt and other biblical stories.
  • This is what Luke has in mind when he begins to tell of Jesus’ plan to go to Jerusalem.  From here on out Jesus is constantly on the move with Jerusalem always in the distance.  Luke is emphasizing the call to go where God calls you to go.  This may mean travel.  This was the case for people who decided to follow Jesus.
  • It is not easy to follow Jesus.  The disciples argue about who is the greatest.  How easy it is for selfish ambition to find its way into following Jesus.  This is dealt with right away.  Also, the disciples needed to realize that the Kingdom may be going forward through people they don’t know.  Following Jesus is not always straight forward.
  • Jesus sends messengers ahead of him.  Similar to the Exodus where God sent angels before the people to guide them.  Luke again is emphasizing that this is the “new” Exodus.
  • When they are not accepted, James and John thinking they were Elijah, want to call down fire from heaven.  But Jesus’ journey is not about that.  Jesus is following the path of love and grace.  This is surprising and shocking to the disciples.
  • It is also shocking to those who wish too follow Jesus.  Jesus meets three people who wish to follow him but have conditions attached.  Will they drop everything to follow Jesus?  There was no greater obligation then to bury one’s father after they died.  But Jesus insists that this is secondary to the call to follow him.
  • When following Jesus, one must constantly be moving forward.  And it is hard to move forward if you are constantly looking behind you.  The going will be slow and you will veer off the straight and narrow path.  Like the farmer and his plough.
  • Where is Jesus asking me to travel in my life?  Am I ready to follow him where ever he goes?

Luke 9:18-27 Peter’s Declaration of Jesus’ Messiahship

May 8, 2009

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

Jesus Foretells His Death

21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

  • Calling versus recognition.  I may believe I am a chemist but do other people (i.e. my peers) think I’m a chemist.
  • Jesus’ vocation was confirmed clearly at his baptism.  Luke even shows his calling was clear even at the age of twelve.
  • However, in Jesus’ public career, he did not broadcast the fact that he was the Messiah.  His style of messiahship was different.
  • Of course people thought of Jesus as a prophet and so compared him with Elijah or John the Baptist.
  • Jesus was more than a prophet.  He wasn’t just pointing to God’s Kingdom in the future, he was making it a reality in the present.  So Jesus puts the question to his disciples.  They saw what the crowds didn’t see.  They saw the authority, power, insight, and fulfillment of the scriptures first hand.  Over and over again.  They knew it could only mean one thing.  Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Jesus then immediately talks about the trouble and hardships that awaited Him.  Luke has already emphasized opposition to Jesus from the Pharisees and from Herod.  More opposition was ahead.  He then states that anyone who would follow him (anyone then and now) must also be willing to go through the hardships.  When the world is turned upside down, we must be prepared to be turned upside down as well.  Jesus does not promise an easy life for those who follow Him.  To save our life we must lose it.  To acknowledge Him when it may result in death, in order to be acknowledged by Him.
  • “Jesus’ swift movement, from asking who they think he is to summoning them to follow Him even to the death, shows clearly enough that we can not separate thinking from action in the Christian faith.” N.T. Wright  We can’t say “Lord, Lord” if we don’t do what He says.  Identity and vocation is what Jesus was about and what we need to be about.  You can’t have  one without the other.
  • It is interesting to note that Jesus was praying at the beginning of this passage.  Hmmmm.

Luke 9:1-17 The Twelve Sent Out and the Feeding of the 5000

May 2, 2009

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles

9:1 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. 3 And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. [1] 4 And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

Herod Is Perplexed by Jesus

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, 8 by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen. 9 Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

10 On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. 12 Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 And they did so, and had them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

  • Jesus couldn’t do it all by himself.  He needed men to carry on his work.  In these two passages we see him training his closest followers to do just that.
  • Jesus begins to commission his twelve to share in His work.  To do what he had been doing.  To trust God as He did.
  • But there were restrictions.  They were to go in a poverty, relying on what other people gave them.  No money bag, no food, no stick, no extra cloak.  This would be a venture of complete faith.
  • Likewise, Jesus commissions his disciples again to feed the crowd.  They were puzzled, but Jesus goes on to teach them a lesson of faith and trust in God.  Jesus feeds the people.  God provided.  What a miracle!!
  • “At this point today’s reader is invited, like the disciples at the start of the chapter, to go into the unknown, into a world where things aren’t normally like that, and to trust God completely.”  N.T. Wright
  • “Christians who intend to make the Gospel story their own are living a venture of faith from first to last.” N.T. Wright
  • Not blind faith.  The same power that flowed through Jesus is available to us today.
  • Jesus gains the attention of Herod.  Not a good thing.

The Master Plan of Evangelism: Epilogue

April 27, 2009
The Master Plan of Evangelism

The Master Plan of Evangelism

Epilogue:  The Master and Your Plan

I am the Alpha and the Omega.  Revelation 1:8

  • Life has a plan. What is my plan?  We all have a plan of some sort.  Is my plan Jesus’ plan?  That is the question I need to answer.
  • Methods will vary. Jesus’ plan gives us an outline to follow, we work out the practical details.
  • The priority of people. People need to be trained.  People need to be the focus of evangelism.  Serving people.  Praying for people.
  • Begin with a few.
  • Stay together. Training takes time being together.  Evangelism is a way of life.  Spend time together.
  • Give them time. Plan time together.  Be resourceful.  Make the most of every opportunity.
  • Group meetings. Meet together to study the Bible, pray, confess sins, struggles worries and fears.
  • Expect something from them. Accountability.  Assign tasks.  Get them involved in studies, in follow-up with new Christians.
  • Keep them going. Move forward.  Growth and development.  People should be growing.  Encouragement and motivation.
  • Help them carry their burdens. Give advice, pray.  Show compassion.  Show patience.  Continue to teach.
  • Let them carry on. The goal is to raise up leaders who will go on to lead others, to be self sufficient, and to train others.
  • Spiritual experience above all. The faith of each individual is what counts.  Each individuals personal relationship with God.
  • The price of victory comes high. It will not be easy.  It requires sacrifice.  I must seek first the Kingdom.  Don’t live for the present.
  • Is this your vision? World evangelism!!!!  What is my vision?