Communion, Community, Commission
During that time, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night long. At daybreak, he called together his disciples. He chose twelve of them whom he called apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter; his brother Andrew; James; John; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew; Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus; Simon, who was called a zealot; Judas the son of James; and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Jesus came down from the mountain with them and stood on a large area of level ground. A great company of his disciples and a huge crowd of people from all around Judea and Jerusalem and the area around Tyre and Sidon joined him there. They came to hear him and to be healed from their diseases, and those bothered by unclean spirits were healed. The whole crowd wanted to touch him, because power was going out from him and he was healing everyone. (Luke 6:12-19)
The above passage follows on the heels of the passage (Luke 6:6-11) from the last post. I claim no originality here; most of what I write will have been influenced by Henri Nouwen and an article he wrote titled; From Solitude to Community to Ministry. That article is so good that I make no attempt at originality and highly recommend that you look it up to read.
In the above passage from Luke’s gospel there are three spiritual disciplines we see modeled by Jesus. Part of the power and authority Jesus possesses comes from his ability not only to tell us what to do, but to show us in his own life. First Jesus spends the night along in prayer to God. Solitude is being alone with God and only with God. The power we see flowing through Jesus’ life has a definite source, God, and Jesus regularly takes time to tap into that source. Communion with the Father is where Jesus receives power to stand against temptation and to address the needs of people around him. Next, Jesus goes to the group of followers and forms a community of believers. This group comes together in order to live a shared life. All of the victories and the struggles are meant to be shared among the group members. Finally, the group moves down the mountain to minister among the crowd of people. There is no doubt that the power comes from Jesus, but he chooses to work in and through the group. Jesus gives us no model for Lone Ranger discipleship. He does show that the only way we hang on to what we have received is to give it away to others. These three practices are just as critical today as they were to the original disciples. If we are to faithfully follow Jesus we must make time to be alone with God, live life connected to other followers and work together (empowered by Jesus) to complete the Great Commission.