From Building Family Ties with Faith, Love, and Laughter by Dave Stone
When Jesus came to earth, He had a mission: “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10 NIV). But it went even deeper than that. His mission was to love, and His method was making disciples- to create followers who would walk as He walked.
If His followers couldn’t convey that message, what would happen to the “good news” after He ascended to heaven? Jesus intentionally spent time teaching the disciples the priorities of life. Through parables and teaching and demonstration, He trained them how to reach others. And then He began to turn things over to them. He trusted them to share the most important message of all time.
In Luke 9, toward the end of His ministry, Jesus sends His twelve disciples out to spread His message and heal the sick. They return a little defeated. They could say what He said, but they couldn’t yet do what He did (Luke 9:40). Then in Luke 10, He sends them out again, seventy-two of them this time- with the purpose of spreading His message and performing miracles.
This time the whole group returns, and they are pumped. They’ve seen people respond to the message, and they’ve felt the power of God at work. And Luke described how Jesus felt at that moment: “full of joy through the Holy Spirit” (Luke 10:21). This is the only time the Bible gives us such an exuberant description of Jesus.
Why was Jesus so excited? Joy comes when you accomplish your mission. Jesus’ joy was the result of seeing the ones He’d taught, trained, and trusted to go out on this test mission and return victorious, having passed with flying colors. Not only did they do what Jesus did, but they also showed others how to do the same. His followers were filled with joy. Jesus was filled with joy. Everyone was happy.
The litmus test isn’t whether the disciples can spread the message, but whether or not the next generation of disciples (the ones they’ve trained) can pass it on to others. They can. They did. No wonder Jesus smiled.
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