Getting Ready for Kingdom Ministry
Getting Ready for Kingdom Ministry
Words of Faith 7-2-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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In chapter nine of Luke we see Jesus sending out the disciples on the very first missionary journey. He commissioned them with power and authority to drive out demons and cure diseases. It was also a time to grow in faith. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey. No staff or bag, no bread or money, no extra tunic. The disciples returned to report on this ministry.
 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida,  but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, "Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here."
 He replied, "You give them something to eat."
They answered, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish--unless we go and buy food for all this crowd."  (About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each."  The disciples did so, and everybody sat down.  Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people.  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
I have never been one to get real excited about meetings with a lot of reports, but this must have been thrilling. The disciples returned from the very first missionary journey of the Christian era. They had been commissioned and sent to do the work of ministry, to preach and to heal the sick.
Can you imagine the first reports of ministry as the disciples began to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit preaching and healing? Luke gives us no details. What we must gather from this is that apparently things went exactly as planned without a hitch! The Gospel was preached. People were healed. There were no needs. Every provision had been taken care of by the Lord. Every concern cared for. There was no danger that was not thwarted. They did not need to carry anything. No money or extra clothing or weapons. They had not needed to carry a rod for protection. Angels had been watching over these ministry teams.
We begin to get the sense that virtually everything that Jesus was doing was part of a larger training project. He was getting them ready. Jesus taught about the Kingdom, and then He sent disciples out to preach the Kingdom. He healed the sick, and then sent them out to heal. Jesus taught them about faith and then called them into a place where faith is required. Jesus taught them in a smaller setting about ministry that completely trusts God, and then prepared to teach them about ministry in a larger setting.
One thing that we can gather from this report is that God provides for His ministry. When you are called, equipped, and commissioned by the Lord, then God will provide for that ministry. That is great for a walkabout mission, but does that work on a larger scale?
After the reports were in, Jesus called the disciples away for a time of retreat. They went to a little fishing village called Bethsaida for a sort of "staff retreat." If the boys were expecting a quiet time with Jesus, they were in for a surprise. It wasn't long before the crowds began to gather having heard about the thrilling things that were going on. More and more began to arrive and Jesus welcomed them.
Jesus ministered to the crowd proclaiming the Kingdom and healing them. At the end of the day there were about 5,000 men there. This was the standard way of counting. Scholars estimate that the crowd including women and children would have been between ten and fifteen thousand people.
The hour was growing late and the people were hungry. The whole thing was overwhelming. This was on a scale like none of them had ever seen in their walkabout ministries. The disciples wanted to send the people away. The crowd and their needs was beyond what any of them could even think about doing.
Sometimes “overwhelmed” come just before the biggest victory.
Jesus has a different idea. Don’t send them away. You feed them.
You feed them.
The response of the disciples was interesting. It is quite telling of how we tend to respond to the call of God when it involves something big. The response of the Disciples was essentially to give Jesus a viability study and finance report.
"Jesus, let us tell you all of the reasons why your idea will not work. Let us tell you why you cannot do what you want to do and why we cannot be obedient in what you have asked us to do. Based on the finance report, which says we only have a few fish and loaves, it cannot be done."
Hmm. Sound familiar? They had done an excellent analysis of the needs and available resources. The people had been counted and there was just not enough food even for the disciples. There was no way to do what Jesus wanted them to do.
Before we go on, we should just stop and reflect upon this moment.
The Disciples had just returned from the most amazing mission trip anyone could imagine. God had provided magnificently for all their needs. Yet now, when asked to do a simple thing, they were overwhelmed. There was no faith. All they could do was a little bean counting. Jesus, let us tell you what we don’t have.
Every get caught in that trap? It isn’t a point of shame. The greatest followers of Jesus fell into the same trip. For today, just contemplate the fact that “overwhelmed” almost always comes right before the big victory. When we are at the end of our rope and at the end of ourselves, this is where God meets us.
Father God, show me the reality of Your grace, mercy, love, and power when I am at the end of myself. Give me grace to lift my eyes to You. In Jesus’ Name.