June 23, 2011

People of influence

When Jesus called each of His 12 disciples it was with intention and purpose. He was looking ahead.  He wasn't just gathering a posse.  I'm sure it was nice to have the company while Jesus was making His way to the cross.  But truth be told------------He didn't NEED them for His own comfort.  They failed Him anyway.  There He was sweating drops of blood and crying in the garden and His so-called "friends" were sleeping.  And when Jesus was in His DARKEST hour?  They all fled the scene.  Peter denied he even KNEW Jesus.  No---------Jesus wasn't counting on them to get Him through this.  That's not why He called them.

     When I was little my understanding didn't go past the fact that Jesus just needed some groupies.  Yes, they were His friends, of course.  I imagined them sitting around the campfire...laughing and singing. Them trailing behind Him as He went from place to place doing miracles...commenting to one another as He did the next extraordinary thing.   No doubt He loved them very much......it was obvious. I  can imagine at times He got very frustrated with them in their limited understanding and lack of faith.  We can see it in the scriptures!  Scolding Peter, telling the disciples they had no faith, explaining things over and over again to still have them ignorant of what He was saying.  HA!  They were a tough bunch to work with!!! 

..............but it wasn't for companionship that He called them.  The time spent with Jesus was training ground.  The disciples weren't looking beyond the moment.  We know that.  They didn't understand what was to come.   If you follow their story---all along----you see Jesus teaching them.  TELLING them what was to come.   And they STILL didn't get it.  In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says THIS to Peter:   "I tell you that you are Peter,and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it."    Jesus knew Peter.........He knew Peter was a man who had his foot in his mouth constantly.  Jesus knew Peter's limitations and he knew that when Peter was up against it----he would deny that he even KNEW Jesus and betray his friend.  But Jesus----------------------is still looking ahead. 

   Jesus CALLED them -----to GO.  In Luke 9 we see it.  When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority .........  and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

He called them to send them out.....two by two...with AUTHORITY.  (Mark 6:7)   To be His hands and feet.  To be His voice.  To bring the GOOD NEWS everywhere their feet would tread.  To do GREAT and mighty things for the Kingdom.  To heal and deliver and set free.  Peter was called at the very beginning to build a church that the gates of hell couldn't penetrate.   Even on the Mount of Transfiguration the disciples just couldn't see beyond the moment.  Come to think of it------------------they were sleeping THEN too!   There Jesus stands...talking with Moses and Elijah.....and Peter James and John are sleeping. (Luke 9:32)   And again, run-at-the-mouth-talk-first-think-later-live-for-the-moment Peter (still in his limited understanding) says.... “Master, it is good for us to be here!!!!  let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (verse 33).   Let's just hang out here!  

...................But there was work to be done.
Things to be accomplished for the Kingdom.
And they didn't have to do it alone.  He gave them the Holy Spirit.

Just like Jesus' disciples (who were "students" that were learning from a "teacher")..............who eventually became APOSTLES (sent forth as a messengers)..............We are called -----TO GO!

...........................................................to INFILTRATE the world around us and INFLUENCE by our testimony and our example.   We are the body of Christ....it takes each one of us to continue building the church that the gates of hell cannot prevail against. 

We are here for a purpose.......we're not doing anybody any good when we hide behind the security of our comfort zones in our limited understanding. 

We GO in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the authority of the One who called us....to PROCLAIM the Good News.....share God's goodness.  Bring healing, deliverance, HOPE and PEACE to a world that has none. 

Living our lives DELIBERATELY and ON PURPOSE.
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