LISTEN AND LEARN?
Lord, send me out too.
Read LUKE 9:1–9
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
9 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.
7 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, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9 But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.
New International Version (NIV)
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“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves” (Jas. 1:22, NLT).
How do we grow as Christians: through absorbing good teaching, attending a lively church, going to a Christian event? Jesus’ disciples are receiving the very best teaching available and have front-row seats at his healings and miracles. Yet today’s reading shows that this isn’t enough in his eyes. He wants them to go beyond simply watching and listening, so even though they are far from the ﬁnished product, he sends them out by themselves to carry on his work: proclaiming the kingdom in words and deeds.
To grow to full potential we need to do more than sit in church as spectators. Growth happens as we put what we have learned into practice and use the gifts we have been given. However, getting out there and doing something is much scarier than sitting and listening. As soon as we get involved, we effectively put our necks on the line. We will probably ﬁnd ourselves criticized for things we do, or we may struggle with anxiety about the ventures we are planning, and we are likely to make mistakes. Yet this is how we grow, for such things force us to rely on God for his strength and guidance. If things go wrong, we can learn from our errors.
When we feel God calling us to something—perhaps to help with a food bank, set up a toddler group, visit and pray for the sick or teach in church—and we feel afraid and inadequate, we can take encouragement from the disciples. The Bible makes it clear that they were far from perfect! While this particular mission of the twelve goes well, later in this same chapter we read about disciples unable to cast out a demon from a young boy (Luke 9:40,41). “Disciple” just means “learner,” after all, and that is what every Christian is! The learning, as they say, never stops.
Does this passage have anything to say about how our churches go about teaching? What are the pros and cons of sermons as a way of learning?
Lord, be with us in a special way when we put both our faith and Your name on the line outside the four walls of the church.