Title: Jesus the one who sends
Passage: Luke 9:1-9
Sermon date: February 17th
Think about travel, particularly air travel. What was the longest trip/holiday you have ever taken with hand-luggage/carry-on bags only? How was it helpful not to have checked bags with you? How was it difficult going without them?
Please read Luke 9:1-9
One great way to understand Scripture is to get to know its divine Author as well as its human “scribe”. I like to refer to Luke as Dr. Luke, to remember that it is a physician’s notes I am reading, with his intentional attention to detail and eye-witnessed accuracy.
Another great way to understand Scripture is with Scripture, and a great way to look at a passage is to look at passages around it. Often, we take a “in our last episode” approach to looking at the passage that lies just before the one we’re studying. In this instance, looking ahead to the feeding of the thousands, Jesus’ followers are about to find themselves in the middle of nowhere, face to face with a huge human need, yet with no readily apparent human means to meet it. Rather than signpost them to “the usual suspects” for looking after people (the government should…, the church should…, go to the shops and pick up something….) Jesus will look squarely at them and say “You feed them.” They will have heard his words and seen his miracles, now He needs them to start experiencing what He can do through them, beginning with carrying out His mission. He will need them to grow in confidence, as a fear of what people could think is replaced with a trust in what He could do.
Q1 - What strikes you about this passage?
I can't help but notice that the God whose presence is everywhere isn’t going anywhere in this passage - it’s the disciples who are about to do the walking!
“He gave them power….” – the Greek word for power is the same word from which we get our word “dynamite.”
Q2 – Do you believe that this same power goes with you wherever you go?
“Take no staff, no bag…” the “bag” might have been the kind used by philosophers and others for begging.
Q3 – Is there any “baggage” we are carrying that we might need to leave behind?
“Wipe the dust off your feet” – If Jews had to go in or through a Gentile city, as they left they would shake the dust off their feet as a gesture saying, "we don't want to take anything from this city with us." Essentially, Jesus is telling them to regard a Jewish city that rejects their message as if it were a Gentile city.
“Take nothing with you” - There was a rule among the rabbis of the day that you could not enter the temple area with a staff, shoes, or a moneybag, because you wanted to avoid even the appearance of being engaged in any other business than the service of the Lord. The disciples are engaged in such holy work (preaching the gospel and bringing God's healing) that they can't give the impression that they have any other motive.
Q4 – What does this mean to you? What would that mean if Jesus was speaking to you today?
Q5 - How can we lighten our loads, both physically/materially and spiritually, in refining our focus onto the mission Jesus is sending us on?
Q6 - What does it mean to be “sent”?
Q7 – Have you ever felt God was calling you to do a certain thing, or reach a certain person, that seemed humanly impossible? How did that go?
Q8 - What does the way in which we go about our days say about the One who sends us? How do we sometimes dilute the message?
Q9 - What must it have been like for Jesus to trust his fallen followers to deliver His message? Whilst we speak often of our need to trust in God, what does it mean for God to trust in you?
Group Action: Please spend some time sharing where you are most of the time during the week. Do you feel “sent” by Jesus there?
We usually commission people to do full time ministry and pray for them when they start. But we are all called to be full time disciples, so pray for each other and commission each other to do God’s work wherever you go.
“He who can do more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3)” -- We think of super-sizing our meals at McDonalds. How about "God-sizing" your prayer requests? When was the last time you trusted God to do something so incredible through you, for His kingdom, that there could be no human explanation for it?
"You're the Only Jesus" by Kathleen Harris
If not in you, I wonder where will they ever find the One who really cares?
If not from you, how will they find the One who heals the broken heart, gives sight to the blind?
If not you, I wonder who, will show them love, and love alone can make things new?
If not from you, how will they learn there’s one who’ll trade their hopelessness for joy in return?
You’re the only Jesus some will ever see You’re the only words of life, some will ever read So let them see in you the One in whom is all they’ll ever need You’re the only Jesus, some will ever see
I played in rock and metal bands in the US for years. I have seen many a worn stringed instrument--such as as a rubbish guitar--sound incredible in the hands of a talented musician. My take away from that is that it’s not just about the condition of the instrument, but the ability of the Musician who plays it. Who “plays” you? Perhaps you feel a bit broken yourself at times as you consider the “melody” God wants to deliver through you to the broken lives around you. Perhaps confidence is an area you are growing in. There is nothing wrong and everything right in owning our responsibility to keep our lives lean and ourselves ready for His use. My prayer for us as we engage this passage of God’s word, is that as we own our responsibility to be “sent”, we can be confident in the Jesus that is doing the sending.