Stephen preached last night from Luke 9:1-6, looking at the disciples’ commission and the challenges of following Jesus.
As a child, Stephen always loved the adventures of Paddington Bear.
Paddington was always ready for adventure! When planning holidays, there are various stages: deciding the destination and booking the holiday; getting provisions and clothing ready; saving up money and then eventually setting off with anticipation and excitement. When Jesus sent His disciples out on their first mission, He commissioned them to go and preach the gospel and gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases (passing on to them the authority He Himself had, see Matt 28:18-20). He told them, however, to set off with no staff, no bag, no bread, no money and no extra tunic – not at all like the baggage that accompanies us on holidays!
We choose to follow Christ, which is the first step on our journey. The journey then does not follow our preconceptions or expectations, however. All Christ really demands from us is that we trust Him. We are not allowed any ‘external’ props to hold us up; we are to trust that God will provide for us on this journey. TRUST needs to be in capital letters, for it is absolutely fundamental to our journey as Christians!
What extra baggage do we need to shed in this new year? Jesus said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light, but so often we hold back and try to work things out with our own reasoning. Jesus gave them all they needed (the power and authority to deal with the situations they would face which were beyond their natural abilities) and promised to be with them always. All our requirements will be met in every way, but we need to learn to trust God for everything we need.