What does the Gospel look like when it is moving between heaven and human hearts? God gives a glimpse in Luke 9:7-17 by revealing how the Spirit stirs hearts to seek Jesus.
Herod, the ruler of Galilee, heard about Jesus and His miracles. He was puzzled over the varying opinions of who people thought Jesus was, so “he kept trying to see Jesus.”9 God was moving in Herod so he would come to know his Lord and Savior. Unfortunately, the Bible does give an account of Herod never repenting of his sins and following Jesus; see Acts 12:20-23.
When a person hears truth, God moves. Truth going out is never stagnant. Faith is constantly on the move. This is why it is vital to share what God is doing within you. It sets the Gospel in motion. It activates the fire that simmers in your heart with hopes that you will allow it to be set ablaze into a monumental, God-size faith that challenges other simmering hearts to do the same.
Jesus is the director of this eternal motion. He sets the stage and calls the shots for how the Gospel is to be shared throughout the world. After His chosen 12 returned from a mission trip, see 9:1-6, they told Jesus everything they had done. Now, Jesus was going to teach them how to live out the Gospel for it is on the move. It has remained on the move throughout the generations. Today, God is propelling His Gospel forward.
As Jesus and His disciples tried to get away quietly, probably for a respite, crowds of people found out where Jesus was going and followed Him. This is the absolute necessity to allowing God to set your heart ablaze for His glory. You must seek Jesus! In biblical times, people had to go to Jesus in the physical sense. Today, because of His resurrected status, Jesus is all around you and I, in the spiritual sense. God has made His presence available to anyone who wants be redeemed, saved from their sins.
When people were around Jesus, they got to experience a fullness of love that is not found anywhere on earth. God is love which means Jesus is love. Notice how He welcomed them despite needing some rest. He put others first. Jesus used His time wisely by teaching them about His Kingdom. He healed the sick as well.
I love this next part in the passage, people stayed all day and weren’t budging when dinner time came around. Their simmering hearts wanted more. They desired to be fed whether they realized it or not. Jesus knew this so He took care of their physical need as well as their spiritual need.
The disciples told Jesus to send the crowds to the nearby towns to find some food and lodging for the night, but Jesus was going to teach His 12 friends what it means to live out the Gospel.
“You feed them.”13
This must have seemed insane! There were about 5,000 men, and I imagine their families as well. Notice how they remained in flesh-mode as they told Jesus what was in their possession. Certainly not enough to feed this crowd! God wanted them to realize, as well as you and I today, that what God is asking of us cannot be performed in our own strength and wisdom. You (and I) need Jesus to do what He does best, and that is love everyone in all the fullness of who He is.
God is capable of loving every human being with a perfect love that is not found anywhere on earth.
How does God do this? With willing hearts that believe. With believing hearts that have received what Jesus did for them on the cross. With humble hearts that want to live in accordance to God’s will and follow His Son in obedience. God needs His children to be living in such a way that His Gospel is set in motion. This dying world needs it.
If you are like me, do you shy away from His will at times? Does the future look monumental, scary, unknown perhaps, and you are wondering how in the world will you be able to do what God is asking of you? “I only have___________. This can’t help anyone,” you like to think. It is easier to see your inadequacies and insecurities rather than trusting the One who has you in the palms of His hands. Be encouraged with Isaiah 49:16 and Acts 11:21.
Notice how Jesus takes a big task and makes it manageable. He had the disciples put everyone in groups of 50. He then blessed the small offering and everyone ate with 12 leftover baskets of food. Jesus will help you with what He has for you. He makes things manageable and takes you step-by-step so you will succeed in His Kingdom.
God takes your small offerings and uses it for His glory. The disciples had to trust and obey, even if what they saw was a huge undertaking. Jesus showed them what HE CAN DO THROUGH THEM. This is what keeps the Gospel in motion.
Are you willing to be used by God? Within yourself, you will not be able to carry out what God has for you, nor you may not want to, like Herod. Yet, Christ in you changes everything! Won’t it be exciting to see how you propelled the Gospel into motion when every believer gets to heaven? God has great plans for you. It’s time to say yes.