How to Be For the One l Luke 9:1-17 l Chapel Hill Church Gig Harbor
Do you remember the first time you ever drove a car? I was probably about 12 or 13 years old and we were at my grandmother’s home in the Republic of Ireland. She lives in the middle of the Wicklow mountains where you are more likely to see a sheep than a human. And on one of those country lanes, my dad pulled over and he said, “Do you want to drive?” I said, “Really? What about if I crash?” He said, “Oh don’t worry. It’s a rental car!” So, we switched seats and he gave me a quick lesson on how to use the clutch—yes it was a stick shift. And then I gave it a go.
It was disastrous. I lurched and jumped forward in spits and starts before eventually stalling the engine. Not to worry my dad said and he had me start the engine again. This time I managed to get it into first gear and we pulled off down the road. I couldn’t believe it! I was actually driving the car! Then my dad said, “Try and switch to second gear.” So, I depressed the clutch, moved the gear stick, and raised the clutch again while pressing the accelerator. It worked! I was really doing it! After so many years of watching someone else drive the car, here I was finally driving the thing for myself. It was magical! Today we reach a point in the story of Jesus where he does the same thing to his disciples: he hands them the keys and says, “Now, you drive.” And he does the same thing to us, too. You have a part to play in Jesus’ mission to this world.
My name is Ellis, and I’m a pastor here at Chapel Hill. Thank you for choosing to worship with us today. And greetings to those of you who are joining us online, whether this morning or at a later time. Over the last six months, we’ve worked our way through the first third of Luke’s gospel—one of the four biographies we have of Jesus’ life. And we have seen Jesus doing things that no one had ever seen before.
His birth was announced by angelic visitation, as a child he has amazed the teachers in the Temple, as an adult, he’s overcome the devil in a battle of temptation, he’s taught with authority like no one else, he’s cast out demons, he’s healed the sick, he’s touched unclean people and they’ve become clean, he’s made a lame man walk, he’s forgiven a prostitute of her sin, he’s calmed a storm, and he’s raised two people from the dead. And along the way he has called twelve disciples to be with him and watch him as he’s done all these amazing works. And now we reach a turning point. Just like my dad did to me with that rental car, giving me the power to do what he did, Jesus is going to hand these disciples the keys and say, “Now it’s your turn. Go and do what I just did.” Let’s read how Luke records this in Luke 9.
“And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” Luke 9:1–6
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
When we began this journey through Luke’s account of Jesus’ life, we also launched an initiative as a church. We want to model ourselves and our lives after Jesus, whose mission was to seek and save the lost. We called this initiative For the One. We believe God has called us, as his disciples, to play a part in Jesus’ mission, by being for one person in our lives who doesn’t currently know Jesus. To pray for them, to spend time with them, to care for them, to share the gospel with them, and, to invite them to be a part of something bigger than themselves—the church. And as we read of Jesus handing the keys over to his disciples and telling them, “You have a part to play,” I believe he is telling us the same thing: “You, my 21st century, Gig Harbor disciples, have a part to play.” And as he taught them how to play their part, I believe he teaches us how to play our part in his mission.
So, today’s message is called “How to be For the One”. I believe we all have a part to play in Jesus’ mission, and in this passage, I see five different ways that Jesus gives his 1st century and 21st century disciples a part to play.
Now, maybe you wouldn’t call yourself a disciple, that is, a follower of Jesus. And if that’s so, we’re really glad you are here, and you get a chance preview what Jesus calls those of us who are his followers to do. Jesus has a part for us to play in his mission—we get to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. And maybe, that might cause you to want to follow Jesus and join him in his mission.