Summary: When we think we know what following Jesus means, we need to look again. Leaning on our own understanding is not trusting in the Lord with all our heart.
John McArthur, in his book, The Gospel According to Jesus, tells about a time when he was with a minister driving through a particular city. As they passed a liquor store John happened to mention that it was an unusual-looking place. “Yes,” he said. “There is a whole chain of those stores around the city, all owned by one man. He is a member of my Sunday School class. John wondered aloud what the man was like and the minister replied, “Oh, he’s quite faithful. He is in class every week.” “Does it bother him that he owns all those liquor stores?” John asked. “We’ve talked about it some,” he said. “But he feels people are going to buy liquor anyway, so why not buy it from him?” John asked, “What is his life like?” “Well, he did leave his wife and has been living with a young girl,” the minister replied. Then after several minutes of bewildering silence from John, this minister added, “You know, sometimes it’s hard for me to understand how a Christian can live like that.” John writes, “I must confess that it is hard for me to understand how someone who teaches the Bible can assume that a man living in rebellion against God is a Christian merely because he claims to be.”
As we continue studying in Luke’s Gospel, we will see that Jesus doesn’t just tell people that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. While this is true, it is only part of the truth. God certainly loves us with love beyond our wildest imagination. He proves it by the price he paid for us. But Jesus preached a kind of commitment that is directly tied to the cross. In this weeks chapter Jesus begins to reveal to his disciples the price he will pay for them and for us. Jesus shows his personal commitment to God’s plan for his own life. It is wonderful, but it is horrible too. Twice he says it. Verse 22 and 44. But that is not all we see here. Jesus also plainly tells us that God’s plan for his life and God’s plan for ours is tied together. Verses 23-26.
In this chapter we see Jesus training the twelve. He starts by sending them out on a short term mission trip. I can’t help thinking about our mission trips from here. Nothing is quite as effective as hands on training. You could take a class on evangelism for months and never learn as much as one personal Bible study with someone where you open your Bible and share the gospel of Jesus Christ and your faith in Him. Jesus believed in experience as a teaching tool. He commands us to go. It is not optional if we would be obedient followers of Christ.
Jesus didn’t just send them. He empowered them first. Then he instructed them. Then he involved them, by sending them out. Their campaign made such a stir it even got Herod’s attention. These 12 went out in pairs, according to Mark 6:7. They not only preached they performed signs. It was exciting! They even rounded up over 5000 men who came to Jesus. Someone has noted that this 5000 men, besides women and children is an army looking for a king. When Jesus feeds them, by turning five loaves and two fish into a feast, John 6:15 tells us that they wanted to make Jesus king by force. This was a military move. The disciples have the right heart, but the wrong ideas.