Summary: We all have the Holy Spirit in us as Christians.
Think back to when you were little, maybe only six or seven. What did you want to be when you grew up? Chances are that whatever you wanted to be you spent hours practicing. You would sneak into Mom and Dad’s room and go through boxes of old clothes just to dress the part. Whatever you could find to look like the ballerina or the superhero; you knew you were going to be was awesome. If you couldn’t find that special piece of clothing you were looking for, you would make it or use something else and pretend. If you couldn’t find the astronaut helmet you were looking for, you would put a bucket on your head. If you couldn’t find that beautiful, long flowing dress, you would wrap a bed sheet around you. Once you were dressed the part you would spend hours being that person. Your finger all of a sudden becomes a six shooter as you fight Indians all day out west. Your dolls suddenly become the King and Queen of England as you host a tea party in your cardboard box mansion.
When you were little, there was nothing that stood in your way of whatever you wanted to be. You had your sights set on being great and nothing was going to change that. But then, the unthinkable happened…something did stand in your way. Suddenly you realized that you couldn’t fly. Suddenly you realize that your fingers don’t shoot bullets. Suddenly your dolls become just dolls and you realize they can’t talk. Suddenly you can’t be whatever you want anymore and suddenly there are limitations to who you are.
As we get older, we begin to second guess our skills and abilities. We go from being able to run faster than a speeding bullet, being more powerful than a locomotive, and being able to jump tall buildings in a single bound to being, well…normal, average. The passion that we once had to save the world at all costs is gone. We turn in our cape and tights and they wind up at the dump in the recycle pile. We think, well, I can’t be a hero, I’m just average.
One big thing that we forget as Christians, is that God wants us all to be spiritual superheros. He doesn’t care who we are or where we came from; he wants to work through our lives. Throughout the Bible, God didn’t have a checklist of standards that he went through when he wanted someone to do His work. If God did do that, most of the Bible would have never been written. If you had to be old and wise to do God’s work, David never would have killed Goliath. If you had to be young and energetic, Abraham never would have been the Father of the Jews. God took whoever was willing regardless of their age, experience, past, and skills.
As we look at the passage for today, take note of the twelve disciples that Jesus chose to be part of that inner circle. Peter, Andrew, James and John were all fishermen, Matthew was a hated tax collector, and Simon the Zealot was part of a radical and violent political group that was set on overthrowing the Romans. The other six disciples we barley know anything about. All of them were just ok Jews, they were all laymen. None of them were experts in the law or preachers. They were all just normal guys. I guarantee you that if someone had tried to predict who would have been in Jesus’ inner circle before Jesus chose these men they would have been in for a surprise. I don’t think they would have gotten one right.
Jesus doesn’t stop there with the surprises. He doesn’t just pick guys who no one thinks that He would pick, Jesus gives them power and authority to do great things, as we see in verse one. Jesus wanted these normal guys to perform miracles, which, throughout Jesus’ ministry were used to attest to the message of the Gospel.
Verse 5 and 6 seem to throw things off a bit. We have these twelve normal guys who Jesus gives authority to do great things and then he seems to limit them. Jesus says to them, “Um, were not going to go to the Gentiles or Samaritans, we are going to just stick to the Jews for now.” Why does Jesus do this? Does Jesus not really trust the disciples? Does he not care about people who didn’t believe in God? Jesus understood something that we seem to forget a lot. Just because someone has power doesn’t mean they know how to use it.
One of the things that all the disciples had in common was that they were all Jews. In Jesus’ time, the Jews didn’t care for people who didn’t follow God and absolutely despised the Samaritans. One of the first interactions that the disciples have with the Samaritan people is recorded in Luke. In this story, Jesus sends messengers ahead of him to go tell the Samaritan people he was coming, but he was rejected by those people. Because of this James and John ask Jesus if he wants them to call down fire from heaven and destroy those people. Jesus turns to them and rebukes them. “Guys, come on. Why did I give you this power? I gave you this power to help save people’s lives, not to destroy them.” Jesus understood that the disciples were not ready to go to the non-believers of the time because they did not understand the full message of Christ. It is not until Jesus has been resurrected from the dead that Jesus tells them, “Ok, go now to ALL nations.”