Crossways Concepts

Because it is all about the cross...

Insights from the scripture as lead by the Holy Spirit

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Just Along for the Show Or Preparing For Something Big?

Jesus had many, many people that followed him to hear His teachings and to be witness to His life.  These men and women gave up their lives to follow him.  We hear so much about the twelve that we tend to forget about all the others. 

Just like with anything people do, I'm sure that different followers had different motivations.  Some were likely thrill-seekers that were just there to be witness to the next miracle.  Some were probably attracted by celebrity.  Still others likely had maverick spirits that loved to buck the religious establishment. 

Yet in spite of these followers that sought him for the wrong reasons, there was surely a core group of people that saw Jesus as a person that could guide them into a deeper relationship with the Lord their God.  It was these people that would crowd forward to hang on His every word.  They would watch his actions and interactions closely to see how Jesus conducted His life.

We do not know the names of the majority of these people.  They did not receive a lot of glory, but they were far from useless because those that seek Jesus are all useful to Him.

In Luke 10, Jesus sent out 70 unnamed followers to go ahead of him into towns that he would be visiting.  He told these people to go out empty-handed because their task will be simple if the just rely on the Lord.

They went forward and the told people about Jesus and about the Kingdom of God.  They healed the sick and drove out demons.  In short, they performed significant Kingdom work and they made a real difference.

They weren't anybody significant.  We don't even know their names.  All they did was identify Jesus as somebody to believe in, and God did the rest.  Through these simple people, God was able to perform miracles of healing, God was able to free people of demons and through these people God was able to prepare hearts for Christ.  Incredible!

Imagine yourself being as influential for the kingdom as these ordinary men and women!  Is it possible?  “With men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)  These ordinary people were able to accomplish extraordinary things because of two factors.  First, they trusted only in God and, second, they were obedient to the instructions of Jesus.

It needs to be remembered that when Jesus sent these people forward to do His work, he sent them with nothing.  Jesus told them, “Don't carry a money-bag, traveling bag or sandals; don't greet anyone along the road.” (Luke 10:4)  He wanted to assure that they were looking to God for everything.

For them to be effective, God had to be the source, because what they were expected to accomplish could not have happened under human strength.  The people couldn't rely on their money, they needed to know that God is far more powerful than money.  They couldn't rely on their possessions, which only served as a distraction.  He didn't even want them relying on other people.  In order for them to be successful, they had to trust in God, and only in God.

It is always easier to rely on the things we can see and the things the world tells us are important, but Jesus knew when he sent these ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things, that doesn't work.  There is a reason Jesus said, “Everyone that has left houses, brothers or sisters, father or mother, children, or fields because of My name will receive 100 times more and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29)  Jesus knows how these visible, touchable things can substitute for God by sucking away the trust that belongs to God.

To be changed from accomplishing little for the kingdom to be one that changes the world for the kingdom, we must closely examine where we place our trust and who we follow.  Without putting our total trust in God, we cannot achieve Peter's description of God's extraordinary expectation for us: “If anyone speaks, his speech should be like the oracles of God; if anyone serves, his service should be from the strength God provides, so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:11)

These followers of Christ were not wonder-working magicians that were providing entertainment and earning a profit, they were working in accordance with the instructions provided by Christ.  By being obedient, they were working in the center of God's will.  God's power is available to those that are doing exactly what He wants them to be doing, working according to His plan and only interested in His glory.

Christ is still in the business of directing his followers.  From front-to-back, the Bible is full of examples, provided for us by God, of how He directed his people.  The only way that we can be certain that we are doing what He wants us to be doing, is to listen for His voice.  Just as these ordinary followers of Christ were sent out to do things they could never do on their own, the Lord has things that we can accomplish for Him, for His glory and for His kingdom.

Christianity is never meant to be a spectator sport.  Every Christian is expected to be a participant. “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.  Therefore, pray to the Lord to send out workers into His harvest.  Now go, I'm sending you out...” (Luke 10:2-3)  Are you going to change the world for Christ?

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Lexington, Ky

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