THE WAY THAT LEADS TO LIFE - PART 1
Sunday, March 10, 2019
Luke 9:35, 10:19-24
Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my chosen one. Listen to him!”
What brings Jesus joy?
Often we talk about how Jesus came to give us a joyful and abundant life, but I wonder if we have ever stopped to think about what might bring joy to Jesus.
In Luke 10:21, we find Jesus not merely happy, but overflowing with joy from the Holy Spirit and bursting forth in praise to the Father. What’s more, in Jesus’ prayer of exultation, he tells us exactly why he is so filled with joy.
“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you’ve hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and shown them to babies.”
Not just Peter, James and John… not even just the 12… but no less than 72 disciples had just returned from the mission Jesus gave to them, celebrating and praising God that even the demons submitted to them in the powerful name of the Lord. These were not well educated religious leaders or teachers. By earthly standards, they were not even close to being qualified for such incredible spiritual work. Yet it was not by the wisdom of the world that they accomplished this great mission, but by listening to and obeying the Word of Jesus and depending wholly on the power of His great name.
What pastor wouldn’t be overjoyed if 72 people showed up to church on Sunday morning talking over with such enthusiasm, not about the basketball or football game or about some recent political debate or news report that got them riled, but instead about the people whose lives were entirely transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit as a result of their faithfulness to the mission of Christ? Whether you worship with 15 or 1500 on Sunday mornings, how might your time together look different if every single person there had even just one story of a genuine “Holy Spirit” encounter during the week?
If this became our weekly routine, I confess I would likely be out of a job. Who needs preaching from one seminary-educated pastor when everyone is proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel revealed to them directly from the wisdom of the Father through their ongoing relationship with Christ and regular revelations from the Holy spirit?
This is admittedly challenging for me because I deeply value my education and am even pursuing further education in the Fall in the Doctor of Ministry Program at Duke. But as some of my seminary professors used to say, “we are the kind of doctors who can’t help you much.” In other words, we can offer plenty of research and valuable information, but our degrees don’t actually “heal” people the way we would expect from a doctor.
Yet perhaps that is the most amazing thing about this week’s text. The people didn’t have to wait for a doctor, or even be able to afford a doctor in order to be healed. Jesus was only one person. He couldn’t physically touch everyone like the blind man or the lepers or even the woman with the issue of blood who crawled through the crowds just to touch the hem of his robe. God has now transferred the full wisdom, power and authority of heaven to these 72 ordinary people whose lives intersect with and touch more needs than Jesus could have ever known in the flesh.
And here’s the best news. It didn’t end with those 72. God is still revealing the wisdom of the Kingdom to foolish little children and spreading the authority of the name of Jesus throughout the world. Will we come to him like that little child, filled with awe and wonder and faith, ready just to listen, to trust, and to obey.