Read Luke 9 here or click on the speaker icon to listen to it.
Jesus sends out the newly appointed and anointed apostles with all power and authority over demons and diseases to heal and proclaim the kingdom of God. They are to take nothing with them…no staff, or bag, or bread, or money, or extra clothes. For this assignment, they are to rely on God and His provision alone.
Fast forward to Herod, who beheaded John the Baptist, wondering who this Jesus is he hears so much about. Meanwhile, Jesus is doing His thing…healing, teaching, feeding thousands out of practically nothing. His disciples have a front-row seat for it all. Jesus asks them, “who do the crowds say that I am?” They respond with the rumblings they have heard…John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets of old. Jesus then asks, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter responds, “The Christ of God.” What about you, who do you say Jesus is? It’s the most important question you can answer.
At one point, Jesus takes Peter, John, and James up to a mountain to pray. His face changes, His clothes dazzle, and Moses and Elijah appear talking to Him. The Law (Moses), the Prophets (Elijah) and the fulfillment of it all (Jesus) together. Peter, being Peter, interrupts and suggests they pitch a few tents and stay awhile, but He is interrupted by the voice of God from the clouds saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” Listen. To. Him.
Jesus continues with some hard words…telling His disciples He will be rejected and killed, but also that He will be raised on the third day. He tells them if they want to follow Him, they must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him. He says if we want to save our life, we have to lose it for His sake. He says the least among us is the one who is great.
[insert your name],
Beloved, [insert your name], I give you power and authority. I am calling you; sending you out to proclaim the kingdom of God. But, [insert name], take nothing with you. Don’t rely on your own power. Don’t count on your experience, personality, strengths. They will always fall short and let you down. They will trick you into thinking you can do this on your own. Instead, I will provide all that you need.
And if you are not well received – which will happen -- shake the dust off your feet. I too was often misunderstood and rejected. I know it stings at the time, but it is nothing compared to the beauty that lies ahead. I give you permission to move on.
Preach the Gospel. Speak my healing and redeeming words. This is your charge.
Be fully aware, [insert your name], if you choose to follow me, it won’t be easy. You will have to deny yourself and take up your cross. Are you ready for this? Have you counted the cost? Can your ego take it?
It will be tempting to listen to the lies around you about what you need, and what success looks like. I’m not about shiny and smooth; I’m about surrender and saving souls. I’m not going to sugar coat it. There is nothing more important than the truth. But know this: in losing your life, you will save it. It will be hard, but it will be worth it. It will be glorious. After all, what are accolades, power, followers, honor in this temporary world if your soul is lost?
Along the way, I will show you amazing things, [insert your name]. You will see my glory and experience my power. But never forget, the least is the greatest in my kingdom. Be aware of what you are striving for. Service, humility, trust, faith, self-sacrifice is the skill set I’m looking for.
Don’t waste your time and energy fighting with others around you. Consider anyone not against you for you. Don’t be distracted by nuisances. Stay on task. Don’t look to the side or behind you. No one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.
Count the cost…but consider the reward.
[insert your name], are you in? Will you come and follow me? Will you carry the baton passed by those before you and share the good news? Will you consider holiness better than earthy honor?
[insert your name], I so desire to have you on the team. I see what you are capable of accomplishing in my name. Oh, I wish you could see it too. I see the souls saved by the seeds, watering, and sowing you have the ability to do in my name if you say, ‘yes.’ I love you no matter what you decide, but I don’t want you to miss out on all that I see in you. I won’t force, and I won’t beg. I will only extend the invitation and promise to be with you through it ALL.
What do you say, [insert your name]?
With eternal & unconditional love,
Read this letter from Jesus based on Luke 9 several times inserting your name. Write a letter back to Jesus with your response.