TUESDAY, MAY 7
SCRIPTURE: Luke 9:1-20
By: Jeremy Witt
I think it is safe to say that there has never been anyone like Jesus nor will there ever be. He stands alone. He came in a way no one expected. He ministered in a way unlike anyone ever had before. He treated people differently and unexpectedly. Rather than seek out the rich, famous, powerful, and well-known, Jesus went to the poor, unknown, powerless, and ignored. He used common people to change the world. The world had never seen this before nor will it again.
One of the things that Jesus does so differently is that He gave His power away to these people to impact the world. We see in verse one how Jesus gave them power and authority. No other human had that power or authority to give but Jesus. He chose to use these men and women to radically impact the world. Rather than keeping these people close to Him, Jesus sent them out. He was more than counter-cultural. He was radical. His words in verses 3-5 make no sense in human terms. Can you imagine going on a trip with no extra clothes or money? Can you imagine going to places with no itinerary or even an idea where you might stay? Jesus, the One who is the Word who created everything, chose to use ordinary people to do LIFE-sized things! What a big God we serve!
Notice what Jesus did. He announces His Kingdom (verse two) through preaching and healing. This is both physical and spiritual. This shows us that His Kingdom is both of these things. Jesus was both man and God and His Kingdom represented this. Notice also how Jesus’ leadership was handed out. In verse one, He empowered them. In verse two, He sent them out with a purpose. In verse three and four, He told them what to do. In verse five, He told them how to deal with tough circumstances. Skip down to verse 10. What does He do when they return? He listens to their stories and then slips away with them to refuel and recharge. After a time of ministry, evaluation is key as well as recharging. Ideally, this is what we should be doing on Sunday’s. It is our time to refuel and recharge for the next week of ministry. It is tiring and can be quite difficult in helping others. We need rest and we need to refuel. Our flesh needs the rest and our souls need to be fed, both physical and spiritual as Jesus’ Kingdom is.
Sandwiched in the middle of our chapter are verses 7-9 which tells us about John the Baptist’s death. We have talked repeatedly about John earlier in the chapter. More complete coverage of the story lies in Matthew 14:1-12 and Mark 6:14-29.
The remaining portion of today’s verses is in verses 11-20 in a story that many of us have read before. The feeding of the 5000 men comes after the disciples have gone throughout the land and taught on the Kingdom. They preached and they healed, which caused many to hear for the first time of Jesus. The thing that catches my attention is that when people do God’s work, we see people respond. Some respond to the physical and some respond to the spiritual, but people respond!
When the disciples realize the crowd is big and it is getting late, what does Jesus do? He leaves it to the disciples as we read in verse 13. Jesus is continuing to empower the disciples as He just did. Notice how the disciples respond in verses 13-14. Jesus could have sent the people away, but He responded by meeting their physical needs. Again, He is showing His humanity and how His Kingdom served not only the spiritual but also the physical. APPLICATION: As we go out and encounter people, we need to remember both the spiritual and the physical as we serve them. It is next to impossible to neglect one while doing the other. We must serve both areas.
Our last section of verses is 18-20. It is not about what others think about Jesus, but it matters what YOU think of Jesus. Jesus asked the disciples first, who do people say that I am, but then Jesus makes it personal. Verse 20 is key for each one of us to answer. Peter’s confession proclaims Jesus as the Messiah. This is the question as we minister to others to ask. Who do you think Jesus is?