READ LUKE 9
Here is another chapter filled with many familiar segments of Jesus’ time on earth. Because His following is growing, He gives more power to His Apostles, by allowing the ability to drive out demons and heal the sick. The fields were ripe and this commission to His band of men would allow them to further the harvesting of souls.
Jesus told them to take nothing with them. They should take no provisions, but rely on God to provide for them. They were to stay in the first house they were welcomed into. If they were not welcomed, they should leave and “shake the dust from their feet.” This was in effect saying, don’t have anything further to do with them. His men took on the task and went about spreading the Gospel of Jesus.
When they returned to Jesus, they gave a full report of what had happened on that missionary journey. They needed nothing but the Word of God to spread the good news – not an extra robe or sandals, no food or drink, only their faith in what Jesus was teaching and the desire to share that news with others.
At this point we hear about the amazing feeding of the five thousand men. This didn’t include the women and children that were with them. They had five loaves of bread and two fish with which to feed this massive crowd – and they did. They even had leftovers.
Once when they were alone, Jesus asked His disciples who people thought He was. Of course He knew the answer, but He wanted to know what the men thought. Some thought He was Elijah while others thought He was John, the Baptist. He then pointed the question directly to His men and Peter replied, “God’s Messiah.” Jesus told them to tell no one yet. There was still work to be done before He would be revealed to all. At that point He predicted His coming trial, suffering and death. He told them that they would have to take up their own crosses in order to follow Him.
Next we read about the Transfiguration of Christ. Peter, James and John accompanied Jesus into the mountain to pray. As Jesus prayed, he was physically transformed. His face and garments became as bright lightening. Suddenly He was in the company of Elijah and Moses. They spoke about Jesus’ coming death. A cloud descended on all three and from the cloud came a voice declaring, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” After this incident, Jesus again predicted His death.
I wonder if the apostles understood. It seems as if they didn’t really get it until it was all over with, but Jesus was gently preparing them for the cost of following Him. As He continued His mission, he took time to ask people to follow Him. However, there were no strings to be attached to that request. They were required to leave everything behind if they were to truly follow. This is what our missionaries are asked to do when they go to areas of the world they are unfamiliar with. They must first learn to put their complete faith in God’s provision and His enduring love.
Are you ready to leave all behind to follow Jesus? He didn’t think twice about giving up His throne in glory to dwell with us – to live off the land – to have no place to rest His head – to suffer and die for us. He did those things because of His great love for us. The least we can do is follow Him unconditionally.