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handshake October 12 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): John 5:16-47; Mark 6:6b-11; Matthew 9:35-10:42; Luke 9:1-5

Expanding our Influence

Do we want to expand our influence to the next generation? If we do, then we will quickly realize that we can't (and shouldn't try) to do it all on our own. We can only expand our influence through people. This is true in families, churches, business, and other organizations. In today's Bible reading, we see how Jesus begins to pass the torch so his influence might grow and expand.

What causes the need for expansion in Jesus' ministry? First, he is limited in his influence, humanly speaking (he only shows his glorious power when God, his Father, wants him to). Jesus heals multitudes of people and will go on doing so, but there are many remaining to be reached. Second, Jesus is being hindered in his influence. The religious leaders constantly criticize his efforts and sometimes force him to take his message elsewhere. They are jealous of him. Third, Jesus wants his Father's work to continue. Jesus will be leaving soon. He needs to pass the torch so the message of eternal life and his teachings will go on to future generations.

How does Jesus pass the torch? He has many followers and disciples, but he chooses certain disciples, called Apostles, to be with him. For at least a full year before they are sent out, they are beside him every day watching what he does, hearing his teaching, seeing his passion, and participating in the ministry with him. From the twelve, Jesus chooses three—Simon Peter, James, and John— to be his closest friends. Simon is given the name Peter, which means a stone or chip off of a much larger rock. James and John, nicknamed Sons of Thunder, are brothers. These three are passionate men to whom Jesus entrusts with the early leadership of the group and the church, which comes later. Jesus spends particular time with these three.

Here is a lesson for leaders of organizations: we must choose new leadership carefully and develop them before entrusting them with great responsibilities. We need to spend time with them personally so they will catch the vision and passion for the work of the organization.

Before delegating responsibilities, Jesus gives the apostles authority and power to do the job for which he is committing them. Do we do this in our families and organizations, or do we just give authority and power in name only? We should give authority to our chosen leaders, assign responsibilities, and trust our leaders to complete them. They will make mistakes as we did, and that is okay, as long as the mistakes are corrected. They may not do everything exactly as we want them to do (we should allow for personal differences and methods), but if we have spent significant time with them, sharing with them our vision, passion, and how to do the work, we can expect their leadership to follow in the same direction. Jesus says, “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40, NIV).

After giving authority and power (including healing power) to the twelve apostles, Jesus gives them detailed instructions as to whom they are to minister to, what they are to do, where they are to go, how they are to act when opposition comes, what to expect, and how to measure success. Today's leaders would do well to follow his example.

Instructions

First, at this time the apostles are to minister only to the lost sheep of Israel (meaning unbelieving Jews; see Matthew 10:6 and Isaiah 53:6). Their ministry is targeted to them because the promises of salvation are promised to God's covenant people. Upon the Jews rejection of Jesus' salvation, God will later graciously extend his invitation of salvation to all non-Jews (Isaiah 49:5-6; Luke 2:30-32; John 1:9-12; Acts 13:46-47; Romans 9). Praise the LORD! Jesus now offers forgiveness, peace and spiritual life to everyone who turns to God from their sins (more...).

What the apostles are to do

[Jesus said] “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8, NIV).

Where they are to go

To the towns and villages in Israel but not in Samaria (Matthew 10:5-6). They are to find some hospitable Israelites and stay with them while ministering to people (verse 11).

What to expect and how to act

They are to expect opposition and persecution like their Lord Jesus is experiencing. When they face opposition, they are to trust God' Spirit will help them during the days and hours of persecution. The Holy Spirit will also help them know how to answer their opposition. If prevented in one area they are to go to another. They are to keep on ministering to people and not be afraid (Matthew 10:17-36).

How the apostles are to measure success

They are to measure it not by numbers but by quality. Do new believers become fully committed disciples, like the apostles, and do they receive the apostles as they do Jesus? Spiritual leaders need to produce quality disciples. Are the individuals we disciple following Jesus? Are they fully committed to him? Are they reproducing more disciples who follow Jesus?

Accountability

The apostles who are sent out are held accountable. Jesus' twelve disciples report back to him all that they have done and taught (Mark 6:30). We, as his present day disciples, have also been given responsibilities. We have a great commission to reach our neighbors and our world with the good news of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20), and to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). As disciples of Christ we will also give an account of what we do and say (Hebrews 4:13). What will be our report?

The early results of the twelve disciples are great. The gospel is being preached, people are being healed, and demons are being cast out. We have no current day apostles, but the message still goes forth from Christians. Some faithful Christians, concerned about our souls, came and shared the gospel with us. Now, if we are genuine believers, we are disciples of Christ. Let's learn from his teachings and passion for God. Let's share the glorious life-saving message of the gospel. This is how we pass the torch and expand Christ's influence to the next generations.

Lessons to Live By

  • God graciously extends his invitation of salvation to everyone. Jesus offers each of us forgiveness, peace and spiritual life (more...)
  • The growth and expansion of any organization cannot be done alone. We need to train responsible leaders, giving them all the help they need to become effective and competent to fulfill the mission of the organization.
  • If we want growth and expansion of the gospel, we must be ministers of the gospel and train others to be ministers as well.
  • Who are we disciplining? To whom will we pass the torch?

Focus Verse

Luke 6:40 (NIV) “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”

Watch a video of Jesus calling his 12 disciples

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

A Look Ahead: Jesus teaches his disciples Empathy and Compassion. How are they expressed? Join us for our Next Lesson.

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