Sunday, April 04, 2010



We come now to one of my most favorite chapters in Luke's gospel-chapter 9. Each paragraph pulsates with amazing power demonstrated by Jesus. The disciples not only get to watch, they have the privilege of participating in this demonstration of power. This chapter will take 9 or 10 days to cover with a surprising climax to it all. Let's get started:

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: "Take nothing for the journey-no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them." So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.

Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, "I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?" And he tried to see him.

Herod seems to have miscalculated John's ministry. He thought that John was just a nut-case out in the desert. Therefore, Herod believed that if he were to kill John, then he could kill off this pesky movement. But Herod was very wrong. John represented Jesus, God's Messiah. He asks the right question, "Who, then, is this that I hear such things about?" Herod didn't understand what he was up against. John was just the one who introduced Jesus to the world.

NOTE what Jesus did with His disciples. Now, remember that these disciples are still trying to figure it out. Their faith is still in a very immature state, but Jesus sends out the 12 with a minimal amount of training.

The training consisted of empowering them and giving them authority over the demonic world and the power to heal the sick. They were to go in the name of Jesus to proclaim the kingdom of God and heal people everywhere. Think of it. This band of men were sent out to do some amazing, miraculous feats.

There are two basic observations that strike me in this mission: FIRST-The power to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal people everywhere didn't lie within the disciples who were sent out. The source of the power was unmistakably in Jesus. The disciples were willing to surrender their wills to His will in order to be conduits of His power to touch people. So, the power to do miraculous things comes from Jesus.

SECOND-It seems that the basic requirement for these disciples who were sent out was that they were interested and actually followed Jesus and His instructions.

Here's the takeaway for us. Our responsibility is to be interested enough to follow Jesus the best way we can. His responsibility is to supply the direction and the empowerment. What a deal! Here we go again, as we have seen so many times in the gospels, Jesus is looking for anyone who is interested enough to follow Him.

It's not following a set of beliefs; it's following a person who calls us into relationship with Him and with one another. Aristotle said, "Follow my teachings." Plato said, "Follow my teachings." Socrates said, "Follow my teachings." Mohammed said, "Follow my teachings." But Jesus came along and said, "FOLLOW ME."

The truth of life is not to be found in a principle or propositions or a system of beliefs. It's found only in a person. His name is Jesus. Are you interested enough to follow Him?


This was written by a good brother who gives a fresh look at Easter weekend...well-worth the read:

by M. Klopfenstein

Finally, it’s the evening after,
• After Passover diner last night
• After the embarrassment of foot washing
• After talk of betrayal, If only we’d believed.
• After prayer in the garden
• After falling asleep when we were supposed to be praying (which by the way is only sleep we’ve had in the last two days)
• After the betrayal
• After the arrest
• After the joke of a trial, first with the Sanhedrin and then with Pilate, what a travesty
• After Barabbas, what is with Barabbas?
• After the abuse, the beatings
• After the nails
• After the earthquake
• After dead peoples walking in the streets
• After the curtain in the temple torn top to bottom, or so I hear
• After the sky turning dark and the air growing cold
• After the Master is dead
• After he was laid in a borrowed tomb, thank you Joseph, you really came through, bless you.

As I said it is the evening after…after it all came to an end. It’s Passover Sabbath the sun has gone down and the day has ended but the pain within, I fear it has just begun. It is the end of trips preaching the “Kingdom of God” across the country-side, the end of healings, walking on water, and feeding thousands with a kids lunch. It is the end of strange stories, those parables, trying to explain the unexplainable, to help us know the unknowable, it’s the end of raising the dead…He raised others, but he’s gone and there is no one to do it for Him…. The ride is over, the curtain has come down on the final act and here we are huddled together behind locked doors. Each of us wondering, fearing, that we could be the next.

Sundown brought the Sabbath. Passover Sabbath, the holy days are almost over. Tonight, it is cold. With the clouds and the darkness in the middle of the afternoon, came the cold. We sit gathered in this room holding our breath. Each time we hear footsteps outside we hold our breath. Each time we hear voices in the street below, we hold our breath. I’m not sure if its so we can hear better or if we’re afraid that we might be heard, discovered, and arrested.

Peter is over in the corner sitting on the floor with his head in his hands. Poor Peter, last night went badly for him. He keeps mumbling over and over again, “stupid servant girl, stupid servant girl” or “I’m so stupid, stupid, stupid. ” Some times he replaces stupid with proud, or afraid… I’m afraid mornings will be hard for him each time a roster crows, for a long time to come, he’ll remember and it will be like a dagger to his heart. Mary told us not to go easy on him. She said, “the Master never went easy on Peter, so, don’t you start, He’ll get through this and be stronger for the journey.” She’s right, but oh, how I feel his pain.

John isn’t doing much better, he’s angry with himself, that he left Peter alone in the courtyard. He stood in the doorways, like a school boy, watching the travesty of a trial, transfixed by what transpired, unable to act, and yet unable to turn away. He says we have to stick together. That we must travel in pairs at the very least. None of us should have to go it alone any more. He’s sorry for leaving Peter alone.

They really shouldn’t be so hard on themselves, I mean after the arrest we all scattered. We ran like scare rats in all directions, in fact, one young man only got away by leaving his tunic behind and running into the night buff naked. He’s back with us now but he’s not telling where he got the cloths he currently wearing. One by one we all made it back here. That is, everyone with the exception of the betrayer. I understand it turned out badly for him. I think that he too often traveled alone, kept to himself. We never got to truly know him. Master knew him. He knew what he was about to do and love him all the same. John’s right though, from here on out nobody goes it alone.

As I said we all made our way back here tonight. It was too risky to travel the roads in the open today. Besides where could we go? The priests knew about Mary and Martha’s house in Bethany. It’s sure to be watched. I pray that they’ll be alright. We couldn’t go back there, not tonight, maybe not ever.

No, tonight it’s better to come back here to this borrowed upper room. The stairway limits the access. Simon, our resident zealot call it a defaceable position. I don’t know about that. We’ve still got the two swards but I doubt that we have the will or the skill to use them. We made a pretty poor showing in the garden with the temple guards. I don’t think anyone is eager to try that again.

Besides, there’s a back window in this place that gives us an escape route across the roofs of Jerusalem. In fact that’s how Thomas got back here, just before dark. He was afraid that the stairs and the door were being watched. So he took to the roofs and snuck in through the window. He gave us all a terrible fright and then, a really good laugh. The laugh we needed, oh so desperately. Matthew then asked if running across the rooftops after sunset would be considered a violation of the Sabbath? We laughed again. If it comes to taking to the roofs of Jerusalem tonight, Sabbath breaking will be the least of our worries.

Thank the Maker, Blessed be He, for the woman. They have lit a lamp and said the Sabbath prayers. If not for them, we men would be still sitting in the dark trying to cope with our fears, cold, hungry, tired, and confused. We’re still tired and confused but the lamp has brought the illusion of warmth, to this place, with its amber glow and shadows dancing on the walls. The women have passed out the leftovers from last night’s Passover feast. A bit of cold lamb, some bread, and the taste of wine have blessed our hearts. In fact we have begun to share our favorite remembrances of the master. Andrew suggested that perhaps that’s what the Master meant when he told us to remember him as often as we break bread and drink wine. Ah, and remember him we did, we told stories of walking on water and calming storms on the sea. We shared memories of him making lame men dance, of demons being cast out with just a word, and all those puzzling stories he told, such memories filled our time long into the night. In spite of our exhaustion, and grief, the more we shared the farther the despair and fear seemed to move from us and our hearts were warmed as though Master was still with us. One by one we dropped off to sleep comforted and unafraid.

Soon it will be the morning after the, evening after.