Week 63 | Section 70a
Legacy planning is a term many are familiar with but there are none that have proven better than Jesus’. The success is in part due to His master plan and God’s very nature which was instilled within humanity. In today’s study we find our selves peering pack onto the eve of a movement that transformed the world forever. It was late summer, for two-and-a-half years they had followed Jesus, then become his disciples, and in the spring Jesus had selected them to be his Apostles – yet there was more to do together than relish each moment with the Lord.
35 Jesus went1 about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people.2 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and scattered,3 like sheep without a shepherd.4 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest indeed is plentiful,5 but the laborers are few.6 38 Pray7 therefore that the Lord of the harvest8 will send out laborers into his harvest.”. 9¯10
6b He went around the villages teaching.
- How would you define the needs and sentiments of your neighborhood, community, and the surrounding towns?
- How is the Lord’s command at this time in the life of Jesus and the Apostles, differ from his command after his resurrection (Matt 28:19-20) and Paul’s instruction in Eph 4:12-14?
- In Ephesians 6:12 Paul writes, “our battle is not against flesh and blood”. What then should we understand about Jesus’ command for prayer and labor?
- As a disciple yourself, how are you personally responding to this command of Christ?
- How ought the church unite and serve? Under whom are we to unite (who is the leader)? What is the common cause (read: 2Cor 5:11-21)? What purpose does our diversity of ministries and vocations, and strength serve to fulfill this common cause?
- How is being part of Jesus’ movement different that becoming a member of a church?
Prayer is essential, we must engage in the ministry of reconciliation, diversity of ministries, vocation, spiritual gifts, strengths, common cause, unity of the Church, work of the Church, evangelism, service,
- Jesus took the apostles along with him as was his custom during their apprenticeship. Twelve had been selected from among all the disciples (Section 53), and for the last four months they had been watching Jesus’ ministry intently and listening closely to every word, response, message, and explanation he provided.
- Galilee, the northern region of Israel. Josephus the Jewish historian and politic noted nearly thirty years later (66-67AD) that “Galilee was a thickly populated area, comprising 204 towns, none of which had a population less than 15,000.” The most significant (mapped) and mentioned in the New Testament) in Galilee are: Capernaum, Tiberias, Cana, Gichala, Gabara, Nazareth, Sepphoris, Japha, Bethsaida, Genesseret, Mt Tabor, Nain, and Bethlehem.
- what are the pains of people in your community? What needs stir you to compassionate action? WHo else shares your compassion and how can you collaborate to show them compassion and give them aid? Finally (because its not an optional activity for the disciple) how will you share the Good News of the Kingdom with those you reach?
- Jesus and the gospel writers often uses parables and metaphors to drive a point home. Among those for whom you have such deep compassion what metaphors help you communicate the Gospel?
- Scholars and agrarians recon that it was late summer perhaps August or September (Hodge, p33). It would have been hot – sometimes 90 degrees in the shade. During that season grapes, figs, peaches, apples, and pears ripen and are ready for harvest.
- Jesus was telling the Apostles that the number of disciples were too few to care for and teach the masses. They themselves, even with the power of the Holy Spirit that would later come upon them, would not be able to reach everyone and share the Good News. It would require a exponential movement. For this his told them to pray, and then taught them (phase 5b) how to serve in ministry, and empowered them with the Holy Spirit, after he had satisfied the propitiatory sacrifice on the cross and defeated death, Hell’s mightiest demonic force, rising to reign forever in his Ascension.
- There must be, before any effective movement, a movement of prayer and heavenly forces stirring the air we breath. Read this link for more from Brooks on evangelism and spiritual warfare.
- Later on in John 17:21 Jesus offers his prayer of unity. Read Andrew Murray, “With Christ in the School of Prayer” in which at the end of Chapter 9 he offers this prayer, “O Lord! We cannot understand how You can entrust such work and give such power to men so slothful and unfaithful. We thank You for all those whom You are teaching day and night to cry for laborers to be sent. Lord, breathe Your Spirit into all Your children. Let them learn to live only for the Kingdom and glory of their Lord and become fully awake to the faith in what their prayer can accomplish. And let our hearts be filled with the assurance that prayer offered in living faith in the living God will bring certain and abundant answer. Amen.”
- Read also: 2Cor 5:11-21; Eph 2:10; Eph 4; Titus 2:14; Matt 24:42-25:30; Rev 3:15-17.
- Read this resource “Build a Movement” from 350.org with a mind for the cause of Christ, and consider what you can do to help the Church become more effective in the ministry of reconciliation (2Cor 5:11-21).