July 6, 2019

July 6, 2019

July 6, 2019
Luke 9:1-6
by Samantha Johnson
Laity of Tennessee Valley District

This scripture is about preparation. Jesus knew what was necessary to prepare for the future.  A future without Him, and He must prepare the disciples for what was to come.  In order to get a better picture of the situation described in the text, we need to back up a little, to gain a wider perspective.  The disciples had just concluded an awesome series of encounters with Jesus and people in dire need.  Jesus had just shown them by example what intense love and compassion looks like.  It’s now time to take things to a new level of preparation.  He sends out His disciples to do what they have had a front row seat watching Him do.  His disciples are commissioned to expand His ministry and they go out to do so, but always return to Jesus with their experiences.  Did you see that?  The disciples always return.  It’s an important fact and an important lesson for each of us. We must always return to Jesus.

It was becoming incredibly difficult for Jesus to have time alone with the disciples because so many wanted to be in His presence.  Jesus called a meeting of the 12, then he gave them authority.  In order to give something, you must first possess it.  Like a football, you first have to possess the ball to pass the ball.  This is what Jesus did, he passed the ball of authority to the disciples. A mere, fallen human being is carrying the authority of Jesus Christ.  There is no higher authority and He entrusted it to His disciples.  This is the whole basis of discipleship, and it was time to put the teaching into practice. As we continue, He sent them out two-by-two (Mark 6), with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  No money, no food, no extra clothes.  Nothing.  They stayed in houses with those in the villages and built relationships. 

The Disciples were known by the way they loved others, and God’s best work happens through relationships. Without relationship there is no influence.  Without love, there is no miracle. For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, right? Surely there wouldn’t be resistance to miracles and love, yet Jesus told His disciples, if a town rejects you, shake the dust off your feet as you leave as a witness against them.  What? Unwanted freedom, healing and miracles?  In Matthew 10, we can see another account of this event and these words, “If  anyone will not listen to your words, leave that town and shake the dust off your feet.  Truly I tell you, it would be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”  Let’s consider again this phrase “dusting off your feet.”  What does this even mean?  Well, the Jews of this time believed that they were defiled by even the dust of a heathen country. This was the way of signifying that they would have nothing more to do with these people who would not welcome the people of God. This is pretty intense, but so is the Gospel.

“The Disciples went from village to village preaching the Good News, and they healed the sick everywhere they went.” 

Consider this:  Do things exist in our current lives that we need to “dust off our feet” and leave behind?  Are there relationships and other influences that are not contributing to our call to be a holy people of God?  What things might be distracting us from hearing the Holy Spirit’s call upon our lives?

The Prayer: Eternal One and Holy Lord, we cry out to you to mend our brokenness, to remove those things from our lives that keep us from hearing your voice clearly, and to remove our spiritual blindness that we might follow You more closely.  Open our hearts to the truth of your teaching, and the possibility of unconditional love and miracles in our present age. We ask this not because of our worthiness, but because of your greatness and mercy.  In Jesus’ Name.

Samantha Johnson – Laity of Tennessee Valley District
Special thanks to Laura Stephenson Young, Concord UMC, for editing and J.D. Walt, Seedbed, for inspiration.