Manna for Today

 

Ministry 101 (Luke 10:1-24)

    After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. (Luke 10:1-3)

    8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11  ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.  (Luke 10:8-12)

    17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

    18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  (Luke 10:17-20)

Learn it:

            I encourage you to read this whole passage, I have only included portions of the text because it is a long section.  In this passage, Jesus is expanding his ministry from just the disciples to sending out 72 people.  Jesus then gives them instructions on what to expect and how to minister to the world.  He first told them there is a lot of work to do and that it could be dangerous.  Not everyone is going to respond well to their message. 

            He gives clear instruction that if they are welcomed, to stay and eat with them.  Minster to their needs by healing them but then also share the news about the coming Kingdom of God.  But if they are not welcomed to leave and still tell them what is coming for them!  It can be a tough message to share with people. 

            I love that the Bible also includes how the 72 returned.  They came back joyful!  Of course, Jesus had to remind them where their true joy should be.  True joy is found in the confidence we have of eternal life not in the powers Jesus us.   

Live it:

            This is a powerful passage of Jesus wanting more and more people being sent out preaching the gospel and ministering to people.  We have this same call on our lives.  Now, we may not be sent overseas as missionaries, but Jesus has us in our own mission field.  We need to be serving and sharing the gospel with the people we know.  Sometimes it means sharing with them that there is an eternity and a decision we all have to make. 

            This can be an intimidating thing to do but it’s also cool that we are a part of something that is about 2000 years old!  This is the great commission that Jesus start so long ago, and we are playing a part of it.  He will give us the ability to share and serve through the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells all believers.  What part are you going to play? 


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Dedication to Christ (Luke 9:51-62)

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56 and they went to another village.

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family.”

62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Learn it:

            Jesus is beginning to set his focus on Jerusalem.  That is where he knows his ministry will reach its end.  As they are making their way there they stop at a town and the town rejects Jesus.  The disciples respond by asking if they should pray to God to destroy it!  We do not know what Jesus said when he rebuked them, but he did not want to destroy the town.  They just peaceably moved on to the next town. 

            As they were walking Jesus encounters a man and we learn from their discussion about what Jesus requires of a disciple.  We first learn that a disciple will have no home.  We are called to follow Jesus where ever that may be.  Second, we are to prioritize our relationship with Jesus over everything else.  Jesus used the unimaginable example of a son burying his father.  Jesus said that proclaiming the kingdom of God is more important than that!  Thirdly, we must be looking forward to the road ahead of us.  We can’t get consumed looking back at the work we have done.  Jesus is calling his disciples to be 100% dedicated to following him.    

Live it:

            Jesus is reminding us that we are going to be at odds with the world around us.  Some people are going to reject the gospel of Jesus Christ.  How we respond to that rejection is very important.  The disciples wanted to kill them because they rejected Christ.  How did Jesus respond to those nailing him to the cross?  How did Stephen respond to those that were stoning him?  They interceded on behalf of their enemies that God would forgive them.  How would you respond if someone does not agree with your beliefs?  How can you respond graciously?

            For us to respond graciously, we must have our eyes have to be fixed on Christ.  He must be the priority in our lives.  Following Christ must be above our comfort, our family, and our desires.  He is number one.  Anything else will not satisfy us and will lead to frustrations in our lives.  Are you completely dedicated to proclaiming the kingdom of God?  We proclaim the kingdom of God not just by words but by works as well.    


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Trusting Jesus Even in Confusion (Luke 9:37-50)

The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”

41 “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”

42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.

While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 44 “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.  (Luke 9:37-45)

Learn it:

            After Jesus talks with Moses and Elijah, he comes down off the mountain and is greeted by a large crowd.  There is a man who is trying to find someone to heal his son who is demon possessed.  He had already talked with one of the other nine disciples but none of them were able to cast out the demon.  When the man asks Jesus for help Jesus said, “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?”  Jesus rebukes his disciples because they are not fully trusting him. 

            Jesus wants his disciples to understand that if they trust him, they can do anything.  When Jesus sees the boy coming, he rebukes the spirit and instantly the demon is gone.  Not only is the spirit gone but the boy is healed as well.  Jesus fully takes care of the boy.  At this the crowd marvels again and then Jesus tells his disciples for a second time that he is going to be betrayed.  The disciples are still unable to fully understand the meaning of what Jesus said. 

Live it:

            Jesus wants to use us to minister to other people.  It is up to us to trust him and take those steps of faith.  He is going to put us in uncomfortable situations.  We will feel like we are incapable to do what he is calling us to do.  The truth is, we are incapable of doing it.  We can only do it through his strength.  We must lean on him and be obedient to his will. 

            Not only that but Jesus is going to call us to follow him even if the future does not make sense.  He told his disciples that he was going to be betrayed but they didn’t get it.  This did not stop them from following him.  They continued to trust him and follow him.  In our life’s things may look foggy but we must trust him and keep following.  Things will all come into focus at some point.


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 Listen to Jesus (Luke 9:28-36)

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31 appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)

34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.  (Luke 9:28-36)

Learn it:

            Jesus takes Peter, James, and John go up with Jesus to pray.  We can only imagine they had no idea what was about to happen.  As Jesus was praying his face changes, his clothes changes and he becomes incredibly bright!  If that’s not enough, Moses and Elijah appear!  Then they are chatting about Jesus coming to earth and how he is the promised Messiah. 

            Can you imagine being one of the disciples waking up to Jesus talking with the Old Testaments two greatest leaders?  Peter is the first one to speak up and he wants to build these great men places to stay.  This is a way to honor them.  Luke is nice enough to let us know that Peter really had no idea what he was saying.  Peter was in shock and just wanted to do something good.  Then, as if the night is not weird enough, as Peter is speaking a cloud comes, a voice speaks, and then Jesus is alone.  Naturally, the disciples decide to tell no one what had happened.  Who would believe their story? 

Live it:

            What do we take away from this passage?  It’s easy to get caught up in trying to decide the importance of Moses and Elijah.  The real importance is we have more confirmation of who Jesus is.  He is the promised Messiah.  He is bringing fulfillment to Jerusalem.  He is the Son of God.  Now that we know who Jesus is, we have to do what God says in verse 35, “listen to him.”  We listen to Jesus by reading Scripture and spending time in prayer with him.  Once we hear from him, it then hits our heart and lead us to action.  If spending time with Jesus does not lead to us doing something, then we are not listening to him.  How can you actively listen to Jesus today?  


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Pastor’s Corner