If you follow Jesus long enough, what can you expect?

If you hang around Jesus long enough, he will put you to work. The work he gives you will bring you the most fulfillment of anything you have ever done.

This was the experience of the first followers of Jesus.

When he first invited them to walk with him, he said, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people” (Luke 5.10).

For several weeks, possibly months, these followers experienced the good news of God’s activity in speech and action.

They were given an opportunity to learn from the greatest Teacher of all, plus see him heal people on a daily basis.

Now, It’s Your Turn

At a certain point in the journey, Jesus gave them the opportunity to join him in his work.

One of the wonders of God is his willingness to involve humans in his activity.

Saint Augustine once said in effect, “Without God, we can not. Without humans, God will not.”

Jesus illustrated our need for God and his desire to work through us with these words.

John 15.5Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

Without abiding in a relationship with Jesus, we cannot produce anything.

John 15.8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

God expects us to produce fruit, or as he told Peter to fish for people.

Luke tells of how Jesus combined the principle of God’s power with human activity.

Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases,

And he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal (Luke 9.1-2).

Just as the Spirit empowered Jesus, Jesus gave his followers power and authority to do his work.

Jesus never intended his followers to be mere observers. There is a time when we receive the awesome responsibility and opportunity to join him in his work.

Thoughts About Healing

Harry Emerson Fosdick imagined the human heart to be like an island.

He told people to row around the island until you find an opening. When you have found the opening, you are at the place where they are most receptive to the good news.

I believe healing in all of its forms is one of the central openings to the human heart.

— Clearly, physical healing will open someone to the good news of God’s love.

— Helping someone experience sobriety is another opening.

— A person who is willing to listen to another with acceptance and compassion is still another way to find the opening to someone’s heart.

Each of these suggestions realize that people need to be heard, valued, and cared about before we tell them the best message of all.

Here is the good news. God has positioned you to help someone. He has given you the power of the Holy Spirit.

God has given you the great privilege of working with him.

Going Empty Handed

Jesus sent the disciples out empty handed. Why?

Luke 9.3-5He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money — not even an extra tunic.

“Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there.

“Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

God trusts his followers to such an extent that he is willing to test our faith.

As the first followers walked with Jesus, there were plenty of opportunities for their faith to be tested.

They had learned from Jesus’ teaching and actions that God would provide all that they needed. What was learned in theory needed to be embraced by the rigors of the task they were given.

Everyone who has left the role of observer and begun the life of an active participant knows the reality of testing.

Testing and trusting is different for everyone, but we can be sure that testing is a key part of being used by God.

So much is learned about God when we go through the test and find God to be absolutely faithful to his promises.

The Joy of Service

The disciples followed Jesus’ direction and had joyful results.

Luke 9.6They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

We are told that the angels rejoice over one person who turns away from rebellion and begins following God.

People who work with God have the joy of seeing the results, but also knowing they cooperated with God for the result.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I focus our discussion on the role play in helping people meet Jesus. Rudy is an excellent Bible student and lover of God. You can find our discussion on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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