In the first part of this blog we considered the signs of God’s Kingdom – healing, deliverance, resurrection, Good News preached to the poor… The signs are not what we expect. And they certainly weren’t the evidence most people were looking forward in the 1st Century Israel…
In the same way that the signs of the Kingdom aren’t what we expect, neither was Jesus’ discipleship program! Our discipleship program often consists of a 12 step course or various opportunities to serve in the local church. It consists of a good old fashioned Bible study, excruciatingly examining every doctrine of the Church. And yet when we read the gospel accounts of how Jesus taught the disciples it was a very different picture.
Luke 9 starts off with Jesus calling the 12 disciples together and then giving them power and authority to announce the nearness of God’s Kingdom and the signs that Jesus had been doing! They were thrown in at the deep end and sent out in two’s to have a go at the things they had observed Jesus doing. They were expected to come up with creative ways of feeding 5,000 people, they were thrown to the extremes of experience with horrendous storms and miraculous catches. They did the things Jesus did… They observed, had a go, and, eventually took those signs of the Kingdom to the Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
Jesus said: ‘These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my Name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.’ (Mark 16:17-18)
Discipleship looks a whole lot different to what we think it should. Discipleship means to follow Jesus … to live a daily life with Him and to observe what He does … and do it ourselves. And then the process starts all over again with us… We invite people into relationship with us. Show them how we follow Jesus and challenge them to do the same.
Where is Jesus inviting you to follow him today? What is the challenge to you?
These Signs of the Kingdom will accompany us as we follow Him. We are His hands and feet now…