Jesus continues with His job description for His disciples. Today we get to the His “mission statement.” His “mission statement” is His boiled down reason for coming. Jesus isn’t going to soft pedal it here. In fact, He draws a line in the sand and says exactly what it takes to be one of His team members.
Jesus and God’s “mission statement” is simply this: God FIRST above all else in your life. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. The greatest commandment is this, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, and soul.
Jesus tells His disciples that He has come to shake things up. He has come to wage war for man’s heart. Satan has been deceiving man since he met Eve in the garden. Man has been buying into the lies, especially the one about him being in control of his own life. God has always been and will always be on the throne in Heaven but He wants to be on the throne of each heart too. Man has been sitting on that throne, even though it was created for God by God. It is time to reclaim His throne once and for all.
That is exactly what Jesus came to do. Once and for all He will battle Satan for man’s heart and man’s eternal destiny. But each man/woman will have to choose to accept Jesus’ sacrifice as being for himself/herself. Then the benefits Jesus wins in His battle will be available to those who choose to give God His rightful place on the throne of their heart.
Jesus has been sharing the benefits of having Him on the throne of the heart since He began His ministry. He has done this through His teachings and through the miracles He has performed. Jesus has proved His love and His life was proof His right to the throne. Now it was time for the disciples to make a choice of who were they going to allow to sit on the throne of their lives? Jesus is very serious about this choice. He is drawing His line in the sand.
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than ne is not worthy of Me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of Me” (verse 37-38). Jesus HAS to be first in His disciple’s lives. If they are not 100% sold out and dedicated to Him they are not fit for the job He is offering to them.
Eleven proved they were worthy. But Jesus still sent out all twelve. Judas was able to hide who was on the throne of his life from his fellow disciples, but not from Jesus. In Luke 10 we are told that Jesus sent out an additional 72 disciples and that He sent them out in groups of two. I believe He probably did this with the original twelve too. This way Judas would not be left alone to undo any of Jesus’ work. Judas was given the same authority over demons and disease. Did he exercise that authority or did he hang back and let his partner do all the work. Were the instructions about not taking money for services directed at Judas?
Father God, I am SO grateful that You shared examples of the disciples failures as well as their triumphs. If I were to simply read this job description and accept that the disciples always lived up to it I would never have the courage to approach You. But You showed us how mightily Jesus used these men, in spite of their shortcomings. The standards set out in Jesus’ commission to His disciples is WAY beyond my ability to live up to. It was beyond them too when You shared it with them. You continued to train them and help them become the men You described in Your job description.
That is so backwards from how the world does it. When a job description is given by an earthly employer, it is expected that the individual who will be chosen for the job will be able to perform all the duties specified immediately or in a very short time. If the new employee can’t live up to the employer’s expectations, they are fired. When You gave Your job description, You knew none of us would fully live up to it. But You chose us to do Your work anyway. You also never fire us. You even hang on to us when we feel like quitting. You never give up on us. You guarantee that if we will allow You to, You will continue to train us to be exactly like You. Your job description actually describes You. That is who we are training to be like.
Lord I am SO far from Your ideal. I truly want to be used by You, in whatever capacity You choose. Please keep training me.