The Extraordinarily Ordinary Twelve

Quiet Time – 6.10.2016 [Mark 6:7-13]

Hey homies, today I read Mark 6:7-13.  We see Jesus sending out His Twelve Apostles out to various places to preach that people should repent whilst also casting out demons and healing sick people as they anoint them with oil.

Today was a story of twelve ordinary people used by an Extraordinary God.


The Twelve

“Calling the Twelve to Him, He sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.”

This verse sort of comes out of no where because all we’ve really seen of the twelve disciples is that they haven’t done much.  They’ve left behind their jobs and follow Jesus around everywhere but we haven’t seen them do anything really that awesome.  That’s the first thing that really struck out to me from this passage.  They’re 12 extraordinarily ordinary dudes.

Jesus is calling, sending and equipping 12 absolutely ordinary dudes.

Jesus’ Instructions

Now as Jesus sends these ordinary dudes to go do hectic stuff He also gives them a set of instructions.  He essentially tells them to travel super light, no bread, no bag, no money, no extra tunic.  Just hop from village to village, find a place to stay and stay there til you leave!  Oh… and if no one welcomes or listens to you shake the dust off your feet as you leave as a testimony against them!  You’re travelling light but travelling far.  What I think Jesus means when He says “shake the dust off your feet when you leave” is about preaching the Gospel and once they’ve done all they can, (i.e When they don’t listen or welcome them) they have freedom to move on and preach the Gospel elsewhere.

Preach the Gospel, get rejected, move on.  God will provide what you need. 

The Result

“They went out and preached that people should repent.  They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”

A short and simple conclusion for how this section ends.  It really is pretty interesting how God takes absolutely normal people and uses them to do extraordinary things because honestly before this they’ve done nothing special!  And now they’re preaching repentance, driving out demons, anointing and healing sick people!  Talk about zero to hero!

Twelve normal people did awesome things not because of how awesome they were but because of the awesome God who empowered and sent them out.


Application

My first application point is follows on from most of what I’ve shared already.  I’m just like the twelve disciples.  I’m just plain, regular old Popo, not amazing or wonderful in any way but God’s Spirit dwells within me and He has equipped me with His Word as my guide and tool.  I can now have confidence because my God has called me, sent me and equipped me.  I can have confidence because the ministry that God has put before me does not derive it’s success from how awesome or unawesome I am but instead is grounded in the One who has sent and empowered me.  Be bold Mr Extraordinarily Ordinary Popo!

We are ordinary people used by an extraordinary God.


My second application point goes on from the way Jesus instructed His disciples as they went out.  There are times where similarly I also won’t be welcomed or listened to as I share the message of Jesus and that’s okay.  That’s actually normal.  I need to do all I can and move on.  Of course this is not an excuse to not be patient and faithful with the non Christians I minister to but there is a place where I am freed up to move on and preach the Gospel elsewhere.  I need to be actively praying and trusting God that He will lead me to effective places where He has been working in the hearts of those I talk to about the Gospel.

We will preach the Gospel far and wide.  Not everywhere will welcome and accept us and that’s okay.  Keep moving on and keep preaching the Gospel.


My third application point sort of comes from a round about way of understanding what Jesus says about moving on.  The disciples didn’t bring anything so they needed to rely on the people who took them in.  But the problem that I naturally see is what if EVERY town doesn’t take you in?  Then you’re stuffed!!  Rararara fear, insecurity, I want my control back!  But that’s not what happens, they return back in v30 and they seem totally fine.  That implies that there were enough towns that DID take them in and DID provide for them.  God was clearly taking care of them in that time providing all they needed.  Similarly I need to trust that whatever ministry God gives me, most likely in a full-time vocational capacity He will provide the people who will support me in my Gospel ministry  prayerfully and financially.  This is totally something I’ve been wrestling with recently since I totally feel awkward about asking people to financially support me in ministry.

Let’s trust that God will provide exactly what we need for the ministry He gives us.


“Calling the Twelve to Him, He sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.”

– Mark 6:7

Advertisements

A Lack of Faith…

Quiet Time – 5.10.2016 [Mark 6:1-6]

Hey homie I just read Mark 6:1-6.  Jesus goes back to His hometown and they don’t respond well to Him, in fact they’re described to have an amazing lack of faith!  It ends up with Jesus not doing many miracles there except heal a few sick people.

The people of Nazareth is another example of how people react to who Jesus is.  They live by sight and doubt who He is because of what they’ve seen.


The People of Nazareth

It’s starts off with Jesus teaching in the synagogue and “many who heard Him were amazed…” but they’re not amazed for what you might think.  They begin asking questions like “Where did this man get these things?” and “What’s this wisdom that has been given Him, that He even does miracles!  Isn’t this the carpenter?  Isn’t this Mary’s Son…”  They’re extremely doubtful of Jesus because they’re remembering who He was when He was growing up and living here before He began His public ministry.  He surely can’t be anything else!

The people of Nazareth have a lack of faith because they’re focusing on what they’ve seen only.  They don’t even consider if what Jesus is saying to them is true, if He is who He says He is.  


Jesus

Jesus sees this and is “amazed at their lack of faith.”  They give Jesus’ Words absolutely no consideration, not even the slightest chance.  They deny who Jesus is by relying on their sight.  They live by sight and not by faith.  Just as C.S Lewis argues, Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic or LORD.  It seems that the people of Nazareth see Him as both a liar and a lunatic.

They deny who Jesus is as they live by sight and not by faith.


Application

From seeing this I asked myself:

  • How do I deny His character?
  • How do I fail to respond to who Jesus is?
  • How do I live by sight instead of trusting in God’s promises?

How do I deny His character?

I often deny the fact that Jesus is enough in the way I see relationships.  I can sometimes feel that if I had a partner I would be happier, more satisfied or more fulfilled.  This is a straight up lie.   In fact human partners are all deficient, they can never satisfy me the way that I intrinsically need because it’s only found in Jesus.

Jesus is absolutely enough for me. 


How do I fail to respond to who Jesus is?

Jesus is king.  He is LORD above all.  But if someone was to look at how I live would they see that Jesus is Lord over all of my life?  Maybe on the surface they would, “Oh!  You’re involved in ministry and all these great leadership roles!  You must be having Jesus as Lord over all of your life!”  But what about my time at home?  What about all the time I spend procrastinating because I’m too lazy and slothful?

I need to be intentional with the way I spend my time at home, one of the ways for me to do this is cut down on the time I spend watching YouTube and rest in a way that will actually help me look at Jesus.

I want to live in a way that shows to everyone that I live for a King who is not myself.  I live for a Kingdom that is not here.  


How do I live by sight instead of trusting in God’s promises?

I live by faith because I trust in myself, my skills and my gifts as I serve in ministry.  I get the delusion that past ministries have borne much fruit because of how skillful I was, how gifted I was, how much I tried to achieve success through them.  In reality they bear fruit because God is Sovereign and He always works by His Spirit whenever His Word is opened to achieve His purposes.  I try to claim His success as my all and delude myself to thinking that I’m the important gear that makes everything run.  Only God does this.  If it was reliant upon me everything would legitimately fall apart.

One way that I can stay humble and remember to rely upon God’s promises instead of what I can achieve is by staying in prayer.  Prayer is how you can really tell if someone trusts God or not.

Prayer is NOT the preparation for the more important thing.
It IS the more important thing.


“Jesus said to them, “Only in His hometown, among His relatives and in His own house is a prophet without honour.”  He could not do any miracles there, except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them.  And He was amazed at their lack of faith.”

– Mark 6:4-6

“Don’t be afraid; just believe…”

Quiet Time – 4.10.2016 [Mark 5:21-43]

Hey homie I just read Mark 5:21-43. It’s where Jesus gets asked by Jairus to heal his daughter who is dying. He goes there but gets ambushed by a crowd and a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years touches His cloak in faith and gets healed. Jesus then continues on to Jairus’ household who’ve said that his daughter is already dead, but Jesus is like lols not really. They laugh at Him and then He proceeds to bring back Jairus’ daughter from death.

It’s really apparent to me from this passage that the nature of faith in Jesus defies the circumstances you see around you.

Jairus

We get introduced to a character called Jairus who is a synagogue ruler who has a little daughter who is dying. He comes to Jesus and earnestly pleads with Him. “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her and she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.”

Jairus believes and trusts in the rumours he’s heard about the Man who has healed so many before.

Woman

As they travel on their way to Jairus’ home it has this sandwiched section about this woman who has been bleeding for 12 years. She’s suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors, spent ALL she’s had but instead of getting better, she’s gotten worse! This is the picture of someone who’s hit rock bottom who has no where else to turn. “When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.” Just like Jairus she trusts in the rumours she’s heard about the Man who has healed so many before.

She pleads by faith because she has nothing else to hold onto and no one else to turn to.

Jesus

Jesus instantly realises that power has gone out of Him and asks a pretty silly question considering the circumstances.

“Who touched my clothes?”

“Jesus buddy, there’s a billion people crowding around you and you’re asking who touched your clothes?” is probably what His disciples are thinking. What they don’t realise is that Jesus is infinitely powerful and aware of every single bit of His power. The woman falls at His feet trembling with fear and tells Him the whole truth.

She’s realised that with one touch this Man has done more for her than anyone in her 12 years. Jesus’ power is huge and goes beyond our circumstances.

Daughter

Men then come from Jairus’ house and say that his daughter is already dead, don’t bother the Teacher anymore, it’s too late… But…. Jesus IGNORES them and says to Jairus these absolutely incredible words into this situation. “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” If there’s ever a time to be afraid and panic for Jairus it’s now. He’s just missed his little daughters last few hours of life to find some dude who could heal her but it’s too late now. No one comes back from the dead. They keep going to Jairus’ house welcomed to much wailing and crying. Jesus says “The child is not dead but asleep.” to which everyone laughs at Him. Truly no one comes back from the dead. But surely enough Jesus goes to visit Jairus’ daughter and absolutely defying all logic and circumstance raises her from the dead.

“Talitha Koum!” – “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”

Jesus’ power defies our circumstances and situations. He calls us to respond to who He is in faith. Trusting that He can do what we can’t even imagine.

Application

– I’m actually meant to relate to Jairus. We have to continually and earnestly plead with God. We’ve heard and seen God’s power and we need to rely on it day by day.

– I’m actually meant to relate to the woman in the crowd. In my sin I was at rock bottom and had no where else to turn to and no one else to turn to. Jesus called me to rely upon who He is completely for my salvation. You only plead when you have nothing else to offer. However that reliance upon Jesus continues NOW. Right now I need to keep living by faith knowing and trusting that God can do more in a single touch than I or anyone else could ever do.

Don’t be afraid; just believe. Jesus absolutely defies what my circumstances say around me. I can’t live by sight, I have to live by faith. In fact my circumstances will actually contradict what Jesus has promised for us.

One of the things I struggle to see past my circumstances with right now is with my work. RICE desires to fundraise support for me so I can work for them in a full time capacity for their Gospel ministry. However I am prone to look at my circumstances and point out all the flaws and difficulties of raising enough support for me. I’m not properly trusting God to provide what I need. Jesus promises that I’ll have exactly what I need but I doubt that promise because of my circumstances.

Jesus WILL provide for me what I need. That sometimes might not look like what I expect but whatever does happen it’s going to be perfect for me in that situation! Faith is trusting in God’s promises despite your circumstances seemingly contradicting them. Pray that I might live by faith and not by sight!


“While Jesus was still speaking; some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?”

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

– Mark 5:35-36