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Return to Sender - A Best Practice


The third book in the New Testament, Luke, is written by a historian and physician. The author explains that his purpose in “carefully investigating everything from the beginning … and writing an orderly account” was for his friend Theophilus and he reasons; “so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

The 24 chapters of Luke is an account of the nearly too good to be true news of Jesus the Messiah and the “things that had been fulfilled among them.” Luke’s investigative report begins with the foretelling of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus and ends with the Jesus being “taken up into heaven." In between are many wondrous events recorded about Jesus, and those who followed Him.

Among all the miraculous things we read about in this gospel account, something recorded in Chapter 9 kind of boggles my mind. Keep in mind that in Chapter 8 alone you can find Jesus traveling and teaching, calming a storm, casting a legion of demons out of one man, healing a sick woman and raising a child from the dead.

“Jesus called the twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” - Luke 9:1-2

Incredible! Jesus – God Incarnate – GAVE them, the twelve apostles, the twelve He called to follow him, POWER and AUTHORITY. He gave them the ability and the right to do exactly as he was doing! Unbelievable! Twelve ordinary men given the power and authority to drive out demons, cure diseases, preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. This isn’t stuff ordinary men can do in their ordinary power. It’s by the power of God IN them. It’s unbelievable that He would share this with ordinary humanity!

Along with these gifts of power and authority came traveling orders. Jesus tells them in the next verse to “take nothing for the journey…” And verse 6 tells us “they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere”. I’m not so sure I would have wanted to leave his side! But they did in order to serve Him and others with their new power and authority.

“When the apostles returned… Jesus took them with him to a remote place, by themselves…” I love the intimacy this captures between this group of men! Verse 11 goes on to say that the crowds followed. The journey wasn’t over for those twelve. “Jesus welcomed the crowd and spoke about the kingdom of God and healed those who needed healing.” Not to mention this is also the time when Jesus miraculously feeds the five thousand. Think of the display of the greatness and power of God in that one day! The twelve not only witnessed it they participated! Imagine what they would have missed out on had they not returned to Him.

Their return to Jesus must have been the icing on the cake to a miraculous, amazing journey.

Jesus didn’t limit His gracious gift giving to the apostles. Incredibly, He pours out power and authority yet again on 72 others in the very next chapter. He appointed them to go two by two with instructions to heal and preach as the 12. And they did. And like the group of twelve, these too returned to Jesus. Luke 10:17 says as much; “The seventy-two returned with joy…”

Imagine the joy! Jesus still shares His power and authority with His followers today! Again, Imagine the joy! First that He calls you, then to be considered let alone appointed to do marvelous things in His service. And then the joy at seeing Him face to face again, to be in His presence. To share your adventure with Him and be part of what He's doing next. Jesus shared in the joy of their precious relationship then, just as He does today.

Jesus called, equipped and sent them. Then they returned to Jesus. A best practice to be sure.



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