As we continue our series LOVE PRAY EAT, here is the excerpt from the study guide for this week’s message on Luke 9:10-20…
The apostles were tired and weary from their short-term mission trip in the villages of Judea. Luke tells us they had been “proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.” In other words, they had been doing what Jesus was doing. Can you imagine how excited and exuberated they were when they got back to tell Jesus all the things that had happened and what God did through their ministry? But they must have been exhausted and weary. Serving God is hard work and demanded much mental, emotional and physical energy. The sensible thing to do is get some rest by getting away with Jesus. But God’s ways are not our ways and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.
It seems someone has leaked information about the apostles’ private retreat with Jesus and before long, crowds of people start showing up! Can you imagine how the apostles felt? “Go away!” they probably thought. But what does Jesus do? “He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God and healed those who needed healing.” Jesus really loved people and his life and ministry reveals the heart of God for humanity. God created us to share His joy, to share in the loving community of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But our rebellion and sin severed that relationship. Jesus came to restore that community between God and people. He welcomed them…
But what about the miracle of feeding 5000 people? We are called to have faith in God’s power. But as N.T. Wright says, “We aren’t called to believe that Jesus can, as it were, do tricks to order. He wasn’t a magician. What he did on this rare occasion was to allow God’s creative power to flow through him in a special way, as with his healings only more so. And, as the gospel-writers describe this incident with words so familiar in the later church from celebrations of the Lord’s Supper (he ‘took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it’), we Christians are invited to invoke that same healing, creative power in all that we do, in everything that flows from our life of worship.”
It seems Jesus’ whole mission was focused on two things: obeying God and serving people. Consider the way Luke describes what Jesus did when the crowds found him and the apostles: “He welcomed them…” What is being welcomed? How do you feel about being welcomed by God through what Jesus has done for us? How can we welcome others—even when we are tired? How can our homes and our church be more welcoming?
(painting by Ellen Lefavour, hobbithousestudio.com)