What did I learn about Jesus?
- Peter declares Jesus, “God’s Messiah.” (NIV, verse 20)
- Jesus knew his work on earth would include his suffering, death and resurrection. (verse 22, 44)
What did I learn about disciple-making?
- Jesus wasn’t afraid to send his disciples out unprepared! (verses 1-6)
- Jesus knows our work as disciple-makers will include suffering, death and resurrection. (verses 23-27)
Extended thoughts and observations from Pastor Mark:
Good morning disciple-makers:
One of the themes that jumps out to me is the up and down progress of the disciples as they are learning to become disciple-makers.
-1- Jesus “gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Wow…I wonder what that looked like. HOW did Jesus give them that power and authority? And to think that the same Holy Spirit lives in us… I know that I do not live up to the potential that God has placed inside me!
Notice that they were successful in their short mission. Verse 6. So…this was an “up” moment for the disciples. And with Peter’s confession of faith, it moves even higher. This was one of his shining moments. But IMMEDIATELY, Jesus warns them that he is going to suffer and die…and that anyone who follows him must be willing to do the same. “Take up his cross DAILY” (Only Luke includes “daily.)
Then, for Peter James and John, an even HIGHER privilege: the transfiguration. On that mountain, they get a glimpse of Jesus in his glory. And here, Peter reverts to form. Starts babbling away even though “he did not know what he was saying.” I wonder how many times it would have been better for me to remain still than to try and fill the silence with my sound.
The transfiguration is the high point in the chapter for the disciples. Then it starts back downhill… fast! The disciples are unable to heal the boy with the evil spirit and Jesus chews them out! “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?” That is pretty harsh. Do you hear Jesus’ frustration?
Then, in 44, Jesus says, “Listen carefully… (Do you smile when you read this? It’s like he’s grabbing them by the cheeks and saying, “NOW HEAR THIS!!!!) “…I am about to be betrayed to my death.” He couldn’t be clearer…and yet, the VERY NEXT SCENE, we see the disciples arguing about who of them would be the greatest. Wow…how dense could they be?
THEN…when a Samaritan village does not welcome them, James and John are ready to call down fire to destroy them! Not very gracious.
And finally, we have the accounts of three failed followers who all have excuses for why they can’t follow Jesus right now; not yet. How many of us have similar excuses?
For me we see the contrast between the herky-jerky disciples who succeed, fail, but stay in the game versus those who talk a good game but never actually play. We will be one or the other. I hope I’m the first, and I hope Jesus doesn’t have to chew me out TOO often! But I will receive his chastisement as loving discipline.
I love the last verse about putting hand to plow and not looking back. If we follow Jesus, the past is past! We look forward, not worrying about what is behind us.
WHAT A DISCIPLESHIP CHAPTER! What do you see?