Encounter: Begin by watching Episode 4 of Season 3 of The Chosen and then find a quiet place and read the account of the 72 disciples in Luke 10:17-24, who returned from the second mission Jesus had sent them on. Though we don’t have a record of how the 12 reacted when they returned, some of the language Jesus uses is similar to both. As you read, begin to think about how Jesus responds to the disciples' excitement on their return. Use the discussion guide at https://www.edenmuncie.com/the-chosen-resources and spend time reflecting on the biblical themes of this week’s episode.
Last week I attended a retreat that was part of the Next Frontiers pastor’s program I have been participating in for the last year. We were hosted by the Franciscan Serra Retreat Center in beautiful Malibu, California that sits overlooking the ocean and the small village below. We had to pass through a gate with a guard posted that protected wealthy homeowners, one of which is Dick VanDyke, and make our way up the hill to the very top of the ridge. I couldn’t help but think of the contrast between the Franciscans, who make a vow of poverty to minister to the needs of the less fortunate in our world and the opulence of some of the mansions that sat below them.
One morning I walked down the hill to watch the sunrise on Malibu lagoon. There were a few homeless who had set up camp and at first I felt a sense of fear, but the pull of the sun coming up from the ocean was stronger. I decided in that moment not to fear but to worship, so I lifted my arms and began singing, Lord I need thee every hour. I couldn’t help but feel the contrast between fear and worship.
On my walk back, I decided to stop at Starbucks and get a coffee. The air was chilly and a nice hot cup of Java hit the spot. I sat outside enjoying “a morning off” from the full schedule of ministry and then I saw him. Another homeless man standing under a tree a few feet away.
While the Land Rovers and Mercedes drove in and out, He stood there invisible to those walking by to get their $5 lattes. Again I saw the contrast speaking to me. The touchables and untouchables. At first I was only observing, fearful about crossing a line to help and so I took my coffee and began my walk up the hillside. But I couldn’t shake it. Go back, buy him a coffee, it’s cold. Why should you be warm and he cold? So I turned back and then the fear again. So I turned back towards the retreat center. The voice in my heart was louder! Go buy him a coffee!! I turned again and walked towards the man (anyone watching me probably thought I was confused:) His name was Andrew and yes, he would like a coffee. Then I thought, why not breakfast, he’s probably hungry too! For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…I told him I would be praying for him and that God loves him. I prayed for Andrew for the mile up the hill. I think next time I would stay a little longer and Listen to his story.
In Episode 4 we see the contrast between who is valued and who is not, who is considered clean and who is not, who is socially acceptable and who is rejected. Not only Rome ignored those afflicted with disease and demons but the people of God had grown cold and out of fear kept their distance. Jesus sends his disciples out to deliver people from that which keeps them suffering in isolation from the BLESSing.
The disciples were excited and surprised by the power Jesus was allowing them to have over evil, but He reminded them to keep focused on the source:
…the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.” (Luke 10:20 The Message)
Jesus helped me to “see.” And I am grateful he allows me to see with His eyes and heart. It’s a big thing to see things from where Jesus stands. That in itself is a gift. To those who help others experience heaven Jesus says, Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
The invitation is to stand where Jesus stands, see what Jesus sees and love what Jesus loves. Eden, where is Jesus sending us as his disciples to deliver people from that which keeps them suffering in isolation from the BLESSing? For this is your Father’s good pleasure.
Asking Jesus to See,
Reflect: Pray and ask God to give you eyes to see and ears to hear. Throughout this episode is the image of the “broken cistern.” Read Jeremiah 2:13. God’s people had allowed their worldview to be contaminated by their culture. They no longer saw things from God’s perspective or followed His way of life. How do we at times build broken cisterns instead of going to the source of Living Springs of Water. And how can this affect our life and those around us?
Encourage: Is there someone in your life God is asking you to “see.” Is there a need that you can fill that encourages that person to see the invitation of healing and salvation through Jesus?
Gather: How is God inviting you to see the contrasts set up by our culture that keep certain people isolated from the BLESSing? Ask God to give us the vision, intention and means to do the next step towards bringing heaven to earth in Jesus name.