My friend had a challenging workplace situation - people were tense, blaming each other, trying to cover up their own mistakes and highlight the mistakes of others. In the middle of that my friend, being a follower of Jesus, inserts a new thing - forgiveness, serving others instead of her own agenda, the offer of friendship. It changed the tone, opened a way for something new.
"Every disciple," Jesus said, "when fully trained, will be like her master."
In the early chapters of Luke we saw that the promised kingdom of God breaks in. The kingdom is announced: good news for those who recognize that they are poor and welcome the invitation.
Now there is a shift, How will the kingdom of God, the reign of God come? Now we begin to see his plan: the kingdom comes through ordinary people who join Him in the Way.
In Luke 9 the training begins. The whole middle part of Luke – (9:51- 19:27) is a long section that takes them from Galilee to Jerusalem. If you have a “red-letter edition” you will see that it is almost all red letters. Jesus is training his followers. Here are some observations about that training:
- Jesus gives them his own power and authority (9:1) to “overcome all the power of the enemy.” (10:18)
- He commissions them to do just what He does: announce the kingdom, heal the sick, defeat evil. (9:1)
- Herod is perplexed. The crowd is confused. It is the ones who follow him who see him for who he really is. (9:7, 19, 28-36)
- Jesus tells them to do something they can’t do with their own resources - feed the crowd. They need to learn that they are dependent on him for resources. Jesus feeds the crowd – through his followers.
- They are with him – when he withdraws to pray and when he enters the fray. (oops, sorry, inadvertent rhyme ). They are always learning from him to be true sons and daughters. (remember that Luke points out that there were women following too.)
- They are invited to the way of the cross. He sets his face towards Jerusalem – the place of his “exodus” (Most versions say ‘departure”- but the word is actually exodus!) The way he invites them along is not one of power and success. The way Jesus rules is not by killing his enemies – but by dying for them.
- Like Jesus, they were invited to a singular focus, a singular allegiance to the Kingdom of God. (9:57-62)
- They are nothing special: they lack faith, they don’t understand, they have some bad ideas (shall we blast them?? They thought they were Jack Bauer), they wanted to be “the greatest”, and they are not wise and learned but little children. (They come back excited over what God has done through them – and Jesus thanks God that he hasn’t revealed this to the smart people! Kind of pointed, don’t you think?)
- They are blessed – happy and privileged – to see what they see when they follow Jesus.
- There is “one thing necessary” (10:41) – and that is to learn from Jesus, sitting at his feet.
Now – a question in my mind. Why is the story of the Good Samaritan placed there? Any thoughts?