The day has finally come. Your daughter, who you have been instructing for the past 9 months finally turns 16 and is able to drive off in the car all by herself. All the teaching is over, you get to let her drive off all by herself.
All the steps for learning to drive solo have taken place. Driver’s ED√ , hours behind the wheel√, practice in all types of weather√, permit √, test passed √ . You have done all you can do to teach her how to drive successfully. Eventually you have to let go and trust that she will be able to drive solo. Are you ready to send her out to drive all by herself?
We see this today in our reading of Luke 9:1-17. Jesus decided it was time for the 12 disciples to drive solo. Up until now, they had been observers and hearers. They had sat while Jesus taught crowds of people, listening to his message and methods day after day, week after week. Now it is time for them to be sent out to minister, all by themselves.
One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone abut the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Jesus instructs them to take nothing for their mission.
“Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.
Can you imagine getting ready to leave for a trip and not packing a bag? When I leave for a trip I have a huge list of things I “need” and want to make sure I don’t forget. It takes much prepping and time to get ready to leave.
But why does Jesus tell them to take nothing? He gives them these instructions for a purpose. He wants his disciples to learn how to trust him to provide for them.
This is one of the most important lessons we can learn, that God will provide for our needs. It takes away a great deal of anxiety and fear.
So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.
We are not told exactly how long the disciples are out on mission, but imagine the stories they had to tell when they returned. They finally were on their own and they got to come home to tell Jesus about everything they were able to do and how God used them. Jesus got to take them to a town called Bethsaida and listen to all their stories.
When the apostles returned, they told Jesus everything they had done. Then he slipped quietly away with them toward the town of Bethsaida.
These 12 men were so excited to tell about their ministry, but then Jesus shows them that anything is possible. As they were meeting with Jesus, a crowd found them and joined them. As the day went on, the crowds became hungry.
Feeding the crowds seemed like too much for the disciples. They wanted to send them home. But Jesus had different plans. He told the disciples to feed them.
Jesus tells the disciples how to distribute the five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus breaks the bread and hands the food to the disciples. Through their connection to Jesus, the disciples provide enough food for each person present, with twelve baskets left over. No details of how this actually happened are given.
The first 6 verses in this chapter of Luke tell how Jesus has commissioned the disciples to share the kingdom message. Now, in the following verses, they become aware of what they can actually do through Christ. Jesus shows them that they have access to his authority through his power.
There is a lesson for both the disciples and the people gathered here who received the food. The disciples are amazed at the provision of food and the people are amazed at the provider.
These verses teach us that whatever we are doing, feeding the masses, healing the sick, or giving encouragement, the only effective way to do ministry is to keep Jesus at the center. He is our provider.