The purpose of Ministry Practicum is to allow students in ministry to gain valuable and practical experience by serving in the local church. It is getting out of the classroom and actually doing the things one is learning; and that’s where we find the twelve disciples/apostles.
Here for the first time in Luke’s Gospel, the disciples are called to do something. Class is over, for now. Time to take what you’ve observed, heard, and been taught and take it to the people. Jesus would say, I imagine, that they have seen him minister to many people in many circumstances and it was now time to learn how to do it themselves. The Gospel will be entrusted to these men and it was time for some OJT while the Teacher was still around.
Jesus trained these men to send them out. He equipped them with power and authority to cure diseases, heal the sick, cast out demons, and to preach the kingdom of God (vv.1-2). It is interesting to note that Judas would have been one of the twelve. He would have the same success stories and God would have used him mightily, but none of that penetrated down into his soul. I wonder if those of us in the church look at others who are doing great things for God, and are jealous, but are unable to see that they may be far from Him (Matt 7:21-23).
Let us concentrate on our own faithfulness and not be stargazers (comparing ourselves to others). Let us dig deep within our own souls and pinpoint what thing/s keeps us from fully trusting God. The disciples were told to bring nothing with them and to trust in other people for their provision. What a way to learn to be dependent on God. Will you trust Him thoroughly with your care so that the Gospel may be preached and heard by many? Will you risk believing it is worth the cost? Will you get out of the classroom and apply what you know to a world that needs to know that the kingdom of God is at hand (v.3)? Kent Hughes says, Comfort-seekers have never done anything for Christ and his kingdom. A committed life is an uncomfortable life. It sometimes is a tired life too because it will put itself out for others. It is often inconvenient, even taken advantage of (Luke, vol.1, p.325).
And what will be the effect of a Christ-infused, Gospel sharing life? People will take notice. Herod took notice. The people took notice. Imagine twelve Jesus’ going from city to city doing the things that only Jesus could do; healing, curing, and exorcizing. There was excitement and awe in the works and words of the disciples, while at the same time people wondered who these people were. For whom were they speaking? Where did they get their power and authority? Who is this Jesus and what was he about must have been a common refrain.
And that’s O.K. Those questions are to be encouraged. When speaking to anyone about Christ, I desire all inquiries to be about Jesus. I don’t need to elevate myself, but if questioned, I merely tell what Christ has done for me (1 Cor 2:2). I point to him. The apostle Paul, points to Jesus when he writes, For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor 15:3-4). The Scriptures tell us about Jesus, and we tell others what the Scriptures say. The two men walking to Emmaus listened as Jesus told them that from Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself (Luke 24:27).
The good news, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the cure for mankind’s problem. The problem is that everyone is affected by sin and guilt and none of us are spiritually alive. We stand condemned before a holy God. However, in grace and mercy, with no good in us, according to His good pleasure, God has provided a way for sinners to be reconciled to Himself, through His Son Jesus Christ. The apostle John writes, For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17 NLT).
And we as broken people get to take this message to a sin-sick world and God will save whom He will through our efforts. What a privilege. What an honor. Stop complaining about not being fed and take what you know and GO! Let God do His thing through you, or in spite of you, but get out of the hypothetical and embrace the practical and watch people take notice.
Grace and Peace,