Summary: Jesus sends out His disciples.
13. Who is Jesus?
November 14th, 2010
Our text this morning is extremely important for our Spiritual development. As we see how Jesus trains His disciples to be leaders in the kingdom of God. After a long stretch of relentless ministry things have finally slowed down enough for Jesus to get a little rest. He has been traveling and ministering in the region of Galilee for over a year and the disciples have been following Him around listening and watching. Jesus has recently made His way back to His hometown of Nazareth for the last time in His ministry and here He calls the disciples together. These guys have been very close to Jesus: they have watched Him heal the sick, cast out demons, calm storms, and preach about the kingdom of God. Now He is getting ready to send them out to do the same.
We are in Luke 9:1. Jesus gathers His twelve disciples and sends them to the cities and villages of Galilee to heal the sick and to preach about the kingdom of God. Jesus is a leader but He does not lead alone. He takes on these disciples. At first their job is just to learn from Him and He invests Himself in them. The two times in the Gospels where Jesus stops to explain a parable He is stopping to explain it to the disciples. He is not just hanging out with them. He is training them to be leaders in His kingdom. When Jesus is done there wont be one man preaching about the kingdom of God, there will be twelve.
You can only learn so much from watching. The disciples are amazed by Jesus but they don’t think for a moment that they can do what He does. Biblical leadership is naturally replicating. Jesus knows He is not going to be around forever. The day will come when He is not with anymore and they will have to carry on without Him so He sends out His disciples to do the things that He was doing so that after He is gone His work will continue. This is a two week practice run. He is putting them on a bike with training wheels. This is like boot camp for the disciples.
When they are sent out they are sent out in pairs. Jesus does this for a few reasons: Mosaic law states that the testimony of two or three witnesses is considered valid. Thus having two disciples go gives a legal authority to what they are saying. At the same time this would enable them to protect, encourage, and support each other. Going out in pairs is also followed in Acts making it a good evangelistic model.
Before Jesus sends them out He gathers them together. The unifying force in the church is the mission of Jesus. We fight and divide over differences in theology because we have lost sight of our mission. Jesus trained the disciples to send them out into the world so they could save lost people. When we look inward we become very religious. We compete and argue over different interpretations of Scripture, and we divide because our identity is found in ourselves and in what we believe. When Jesus brings the disciples together He is giving them a common goal, a unified purpose, a singular identity. When our identity is found in the mission not the belief we are unified by Him, in Him, and through Him. Our shared mission is to bring the love of Jesus to the world.
Lk 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, Lk 9:2 and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
You can imagine getting this kind of power from Jesus would be pretty awesome. Most of us would probably feel pretty good about our relationship with God if we could cure diseases and cast demons. One thing we must not forget: Judas was among the disciples. He would have been preaching, healing, and casting out demons just like the rest. His testimony of what happened was no different from the others. He experienced everything the other disciples did even to the point of experiencing the power of God working through Him. Thus we conclude that it not possible to evaluate a person’s true character by their religious activity.
Before Jesus sends the disciples out He equips them with the tools they will need. He gives them authority to preach about the kingdom of God and to heal every disease. Jesus gives the disciples a message but He also gives them the tools to get people’s attention. Their miracles will give authority to their message. In addition He gives them power to cast out demons. So the disciples are prepared to handle natural and supernatural ailments. They are equipped to deal with people’s physical and spiritual needs. Jesus prepares the disciples and then He sends them out to serve. This is an important distinction. He doesn’t send them out right after He calls them.