vv 1-6. Jesus gets a cold and skeptical reception in Nazareth, even from relatives. This is a reminder that not everyone is going to appreciate our ministry. In fact, some very close to us may be antagonistic. If they were opposed to Jesus, God Himself, can we expect much better?! This is a reminder to prepare ourselves to be disagreed with, especially with close friends and family.
vv 7-13. Jesus exhibits wise leadership by empowering his followers to carry out His work. The words used are "he gave them authority" to do what He had been doing. It takes great trust, and great humility to let others try, and probably fail on occasion, but look at the result! I am able to write about this today because Jesus multiplied His influence early in His ministry, preparing the apostles for the challenge of building the church.
John the Baptizer Martyred
vv 14-29. John's death reminds us that if we are revolutionary, there will be opposition. And where there is opposition, often we, or those we lead will suffer for the cause. John died on account of Jesus. A leader must be prepared for this sort of thing, though hopefully on a lesser scale. If Jesus didn't believe in what He was doing to the utmost, this would be a good reason to back out. So how important is our mission? Is there the possibility of other suffering on account of our leadership? Are we prepared for this tough reality?
Food for 5000
vv 30-44. Several points in this story:
- v31. Jesus takes His followers on a retreat following their mission. He wants them to decompress with rest and quiet. This is important to recognize rhythms of work and rest in ministry. If the founders of the church needed rest, then so do we!
- v37. The disciples have just come back from practicing ministry so He challenges them, "you give them something to eat." A good teacher challenges his students.
- v41. Though it is Jesus who breaks the bread, He gives it to the disciples to pass out, again, empowering them to take part in the work.
vv 45-56. First, in v46 Jesus has a time of personal retreat. Earlier He took the disciples but here demonstrates the importance of filling Himself personally. In walking on the water and calming the sea, the disciples are reminded of His identity. It is important for those we lead to remember who we are, and our passion for the mission.