Summary: Ever wonder what you are signing up for with Jesus Christ? Luke 9 gives us some practical examples of the principals in the Christian discipleship.
Do you know what a "EULA" is? It’s not a form of Hawaiian dance. It’s not what you say about a person at a funeral. It stands for "End User License Agreement." If you have ever installed a piece of computer software, you have encountered a EULA. It’s that huge mass of legal garbly-gook full of "party of the first part," and the like. You basically have two choices at the end - agree and continue with the installation, or disagree and have the installation terminate. If you are like me, you never read the EULA - you just click "yes" and go on.
But did you ever stop to wonder what you are really agreeing to?
The following is an example (I’m told) of an actual EULA:
"I agree to avoid ruts.
And I agree to change my locker combination to include the number 1964
I agree to chase squirrels around the park every now and then and giggle like a madman while doing it.
I agree to be more adventurous and try to avoid homogenized restaurant chains.
I agree to name my first-born Cooper.
I agree to bare the soles of my feet to the earth and feel grass, sand, stones, and streams.
I agree to at least think strongly about learning to play a musical instrument.
I agree to consider painting the roof of my house in contrasting colors."
So I wonder - is there a EULA for the person coming to know Jesus Christ? In a way, there is. Here in Luke 9, Jesus makes this statement:
"If anyone would come after me, let him take up his cross daily and follow me." What are we signing up for exactly? What does "take up his cross daily" really mean - and what does it mean for us to "follow" Christ? Jesus does some practical explanation and demonstration for the disciples in this chapter - and it gives us clues as to what real discipleship is about.
Principal 1: I agree to go where Jesus says and do what He says using His power
Here Jesus sends out the 12 in a sort of trial mission trip. Mark’s gospel says they went out to preach repentance (much like John the Baptist) and they anointed people with oil and they were healed, and many demons were cast out (Mark 6:8). Matthew points out that they were not to go to the Samaritans, but only to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10). The miracles backed up the message. Jesus’ kingdom is both spiritual - repentance is required to enter - but also physical in the sense that He will give us new bodies and heal us completely - it’s not just a Gnostic sort of spiritual only existence.
This was to be a short journey and they disciples were to travel light - depending on folks in the towns they visited to provide for them - and not to appear as beggars (carrying bags) and not receiving any money. Now, this doesn’t become the normative for all missions everywhere - this is a specific training mission for the disciples.
In our discussion today I want to focus on the principal of going. It doesn’t have to be to Africa (or if you are in Africa - to the United States). It could be to help serve food the homeless in Portland, or just to befriend that neighbor that always seems alone - and eventually share your life and the gospel. The point is - are you willing to go?
And notice that Jesus gave them power - and He gives you power too - power to do the things He wants you to do. It might not be healing or casting out demons - it may be providing money to you to give to the ministry, or words of comfort at a time when someone really needs them. The principal is "I’ll go" and "Empower me."
Another thing - when someone rejects your ministry, they reject the One who sent you. Don’t keep going back and back and back if there is no fruit - just move on and pray.
Principal 2: I will not try to harmonize what I do with the world around me
Mark tells us that this is the place where Herod Antipas had John the Baptist beheaded. It’s a gruesome story from a brutal tyrant of a king. Here Herod is troubled because Jesus’ disciples are doing much the same things as the man he beheaded. "Could it be that John has come back to life?" Herod wonders - and wants to see Jesus.
Jesus never appeared before Herod voluntarily - but only after His arrest. At that time He kept silent (Luke 23).
I think for us the lesson is that the world around you will not understand what you are doing - and taking the time to explain it actually keeps you from doing the work. If someone is earnestly interested in the gospel then by all means take the time - but that’s not what Herod was interested in and that’s not what the world is interested in.