Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
Jesus sent out the Twelve after giving them power and authority to drive out demons and cure diseases, and to proclaim the kingdom of God. In asking them to take nothing for their journey, Jesus wanted to teach the disciples how to completely depend on God.
Jesus taught them to proclaim the good news to everyone and if they were not willing to listen then they should move on as there is no point in pestering. These villages were mainly Jewish villages. The disciples proclaiming the good news, was them taking baby steps towards growing in the knowledge of Christ.
Jesus and Herod
Herod was trying to know who Jesus was as he was hearing a lot of things about him. Ironically, it was his grandfather who tried to kill the baby Jesus in avoidance of this very situation. Herod had beheaded John the Baptist and was perhaps worried about an uprising against him. He wanted to get on the good side of Jesus as he thought of him as a political pawn. But when he finally meets Jesus at his trial (Luke 23), he asked a lot of questions and when he did not get any response from Jesus, Herod resorted by mocking Jesus.
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
After the disciple had returned from their ministry, Jesus wanted to spend some alone time with them and hear their testimonies and encourage them further. So they went to Bethsaida to talk in private. Us having alone time with God is of utmost importance for our spiritual growth.
When the crowds heard about Jesus’ whereabouts, they flooded the little town so much so that there was not enough food to feed everyone. The disciples wanted Jesus to disperse the crowd but Jesus had other plans. He wanted to give them the physical food in addition to the spiritual food he just gave them.
Jesus wants us to come to him for our each and every need and not just for our spiritual needs. Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry, drove out demons and even raised the dead but in all this we must realize that the purpose of all these miracles is that we may learn to completely depend on God for all our life’s problems.
Jesus Predicts His Death
At the time of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, the disciples had forgotten how Jesus had accurately foretold the chain of events that led to him being hung on the cross. But at the time of writing the Gospels, the Holy Spirit reminded all of them of Jesus’ words and they probably realized that their fears and anxieties were in vain and that God was always in control.
Often times we depend on logical reasoning and our knowledge to solve our life’s problems. Years later when we look back, we realise that even in our trials, God had a plan for us. Hindsight is twenty-twenty but we should put our trust on God in the present situations too.
One day, Jesus took only the three, Peter, James and John with him on a mountain to pray. Suddenly two men appeared in bright light and a voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him”. This is the second instance (the first was at the time of Jesus’ baptism) where God directly tells us that Jesus was His Son in front of witnesses.
Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy
“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? – Luke 9:41
Jesus might have directed his statement to the remaining nine disciples who were not able to heal the demon possessed boy but most likely it was directed at the father who had little faith that his boy could be healed. But to his credit, the father accepts his lack of faith and asked Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief (Mark 9:24). Immediately the demon left his son.
God knows that we falter in our faith from time to time. Like the boy’s father, let us honestly cry out to God during our trials so that He may build our faith.
On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus planned to visit a Samaritan village, but the locals, knowing that Jesus and his disciples were heading to Jerusalem, did not welcome them.
When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” – Luke 9:53
This infuriated James and John who thought their gifts of the Spirit were to be used for defending the honor of Jesus. Jesus quickly rebuked them for such a thought and quietly went to another village.
Our task is to bring the Gospel to those who are willing to listen. Rather than force feeding the word and sometimes even misusing the gifts of the Spirit to shock people into accepting Christ, let us focus on imparting the word to those whose hearts the Lord has prepared. If the faith is based on miracles and not on the word, they will be like the man who built his house on the sand.
The Cost of Following Jesus
“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” – Luke 9:58
As Jesus and the disciples were walking towards Jerusalem, a man came up to them asking to join their group. Jesus wanted him to be fully conscious of the choice he was making and about the uncertainties that would follow when doing God’s work.
“Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:60
What might seem a harsh statement at first reading, seems to make more sense when we think about it.
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family”. – Luke 9:61-62
Even the great Elisha looked back at his family for comfort when Elijah first approached him in his farm (1 Kings 19:19-21). Even the greatest prophet of the Old Testament had doubts about his calling. It is human nature to have doubts especially with regards to what seems uncertain but it is how we react to the doubts.
Do we bring our doubts to God for answers or do we take the road more travelled for answers?
- Why does Jesus enquire his disciples about what people are saying about Him?
- Why did Jesus instruct Peter, James and John to not disclose the events of the transfiguration to the other disciples?
- Does Jesus not want us to bury our dead?