Your Multitudes and Your Twelve
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. (John 21:25, NIV)
When we think about Jesus, many things come to mind: Merciful. Loving. Generous. He was the visible image of the invisible God. He is the Lord of lords, the King of kings and the Name above all names. He’s the Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end. The author and the finisher of our faith. He is the Light of the world. He’s our Savior. Redeemer. Righteousness. Healer. Shepherd. He is full of grace and truth. He is the Word made flesh. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is the soon-coming King. And that’s just a start. After all, the whole world would not have room for the books that could be written about our amazing Savior and Lord, Jesus!
In addition to all of these things, recently I began to consider the power of Jesus’ influence. . .and this simple truth hit me: Jesus changed history and all of eternity in three years! Think about that. Jesus changed the world in the course of three years. I don’t know if that impresses you, but it does me! What was Jesus’ strategy? Is there a secret we need to understand? Let’s take a look:
We know the story: Jesus humbled Himself, stepped out of heaven, took on a human body and was born as a baby in the manger. Then the Bible is silent about most of the first three decades of His life. Jesus lived a relatively hidden life until He turned 30 and was baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. At that time, He was filled with the Spirit and His three-year earthly ministry began. Jesus found the important balance in ministering to the "multitudes" as He went about teaching, preaching and healing in all the villages. He also spent the better part of those three years investing in the "Twelve." He loved, lived with, walked with, talked with, ate with, slept with, laughed with, prayed with and modeled and mentored the "Twelve." At the end of His three-year ministry, Jesus shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins as He laid down His life on the cross. Three days later, God raised Him from the dead.
Then what happened?
Those twelve disciples (minus one – Judas) got filled with the Holy Spirit and proclaimed everything Jesus had invested in them to the entire world! They began ministering to the "multitudes" and investing in their "Twelve" --and the torch was passed. The "Twelve" started a fire that still burns 2,000 years later.
Jesus + Three Years + Twelve Disciples = Changed World.
I wonder if we need to reexamine Jesus’ methods? Do we need to minister to the "multitudes" and get more intentional about investing in the “Twelve”?
As Jeff and I look at our own lives and the first 20+ years of our ministry, we definitely see the value and impact of ministering to the "multitudes" through weekend services, meetings, classes, books and things like this eDevo. When we think about the multiplying power of the “Twelve,” we would have to say that our closest disciples have been our “Twelve Kids” – well, actually "Four Kids." By God's grace we loved, lived with, walked with, talked with, ate with, slept with, laughed with, prayed with and modeled and mentored our kids. Today, thankfully, our kids have their own personal faith in the Lord as well as a passion to share the gospel with others.
In looking at the next 20 years, we expect that we will continue to minister to the "multitudes," and we are also asking the Lord for His wisdom for the next “Twelve.” What is His strategy? Who does He want us to invest in for the purpose of multiplication and reproduction? Who are the faithful ones that will be faithful to teach others, who will teach others also?
How about you? Do you see the wisdom of ministering to the “multitudes” in your life, as well as the power of multiplication by investing in the “Twelve”? Today, give prayerful consideration to adopting Jesus’ methods for changing the world!
Say It: “Father, I want my life to count. Help me understand and implement Your methods. I ask You to show me Your strategies – the how and whom – for ministry to the ‘multitudes’ and for multiplication through investing in the ‘Twelve.’ In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
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