Lesson 170-January 20, 2019
Lesson Title: From Learner to Laborer”
Lesson Goal: To see and better understand Jesus’ instructions to His disciples as He sends them into the world.
Introduction: In todays Scripture passages we find a very important and significant passage concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and His ministry and mission. As we study today, I pray the Lord will open our spiritual eyes to the magnitude of where He has brought us in our study of “Jesus’ Life and Ministry.” In todays lesson (Lesson 170) we have reached approximately the halfway point in Jesus’ ministry. Jesus is about eighteen months from walking up a hill called Calvary. For the past eighteen months Jesus has been fulfilling the words of the prophet Isaiah.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Jesus has reached the halfway point in His earthly ministry. With each passing day, He draws nearer to the cross. His redemptive purpose for mankind in eighteen months shall be completed. The apostle Paul helps us to better understand by writing in Philippians 2:5-8:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus
Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
For the past months, Jesus has been going place to place teaching, preaching, and healing. As Jesus traveled, there by His side, walked in most cases, twelve men, the disciples. During the past year and half, for the great- er part Jesus has ministered alone while the twelve disciples watched, observed, looked, and learned. They heard His words, they were amazed by His power and authority. No doubt on many occasions they stood wide -eyed, mouths a gasp, and shaking their heads in awe. When they looked at themselves, there were moments when it must have seemed like a dream. Each remembering how their lives had been forever changed by a few simple words from Jesus, “Come follow Me.” This band of men; fishermen, tax collectors, Zealots, and a whole host of other uniquely woven character threads. For the past eighteen months, these twelve had been in the classroom with the Master Teacher and now its time for them to leave the classroom for true on the job training. Through God’s grace, Jesus will choose to multiply the ministry opportunities by using these twelve men. They will certainly still be under His leadership and guidance, much like what we might call an intern-
ship but it would be during their last months together that Jesus would be preparing them to minister in future
days without Him. “Up to this point they had been hearers and learners; now they needed to begin the transi- tion to becoming preachers and messengers The apostles needed to be trained to carry on Jesus’ ministry after His death. They were ordinary, common men (1 Corinthians 1:26) with no human credentials to qualify them for the most monumental task in human history.” MacArthur
During the next eighteen months the disciples would experience victories but they would also learn from their discouragements and failures. “Even after three years of following Him and eighteen months of intensive training by Him, they all abandoned Him in His greatest hour of need (Matthew 26:56) and cowered in hiding from the Jewish authorities after His death (John 20:19). It was not until the Holy Spirit filled them on the Day of Pentecost, empowering them for service (Act 1:8) and bringing to mind all they had learned from Jesus (John 14:26), that they became the men who turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6).” MacArthur
THE FINAL EIGHTEEN MONTHS BEGINS:
The sending out of the twelve is recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. As we study this time in the life and ministry of Jesus, Matthew’s recordings will be our primary text.
Please read Matthew’s account recorded in Matthew 10:1-42.
(vv1-4) After Jesus left Nazareth, He continued to take the message from village to village, city to city, and town to town, “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him.” These twelve men (disciples, in this case original apostles) had already been chosen to carry and share the gospel (Good News) of the Kingdom of God But it is at this time that Christ calls them to Himself to offer instruction, encouragement, and hope to them as they now become what Jesus had spoken of in Matthew 4:19.
Question: What do you think were the thoughts of these men who heard Jesus say, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men?” As you answer this question try to remove yourself from today in 2019 with a completed Bible in your hand to the day Jesus spoke these words to these men.
Question: What is a “fisher of men?”
Jesus had earlier instructed the disciples to pray that the Lord would send out laborers (workers) into the fields because the fields were ripe and ready for harvest. The needed workers that Jesus instructed the disciples to pray about, He now instructs them to become (to be).
William Barclay tells a fascinating story of the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther. As Martin studied and be- came convinced that the Biblical way of salvation was by God’s amazing grace, working through man’s faith in God’s son, Jesus Christ; He began to preach, proclaim, and defend this doctrine which became the bench- mark of the Protestant Reformation. One of Martin Luther’s friends, also equally convinced of this truth in conversation with Luther, decided that as Luther spent his time in preaching, writing, and debating this truth, he would spend his time alone in a monastery upholding Luther and the Reformation cause in prayer. From time to time Luther would come and visit his friend. During that time, Luther would report and share about
night the friend had a dream, in which, he saw a gigantic field that stretched across the whole earth. But out in the middle of this field stood one lone figure working desperately. When the friend looked closer at the field, he recognized the lone worker as Luther. He woke from his dream immediately and went and found Luther and told him that God had made it clear to him that it was not enough simply to pray. He, too, must give him- self also to the work of spreading the Good News of salvation (Gospel). He did not forsake praying, but he set aside his isolated solitude and began to labor beside Luther in the heat, sweat, and dirt of the frontline battle.
Hallelujah for the prayer warriors, hallelujah for the prayer closets, and war rooms. Much needed and perhaps no greater need than in the times we live today, but for most of us God calls us from the prayer room to the fighting fields, from the war rooms to the raging battlefields.
It was time for these learners (disciples) to enter the fields. Very clearly in the following verses of Matthew, Jesus points out that the fields they are entering are truly ripen and ready for the harvest but it is also a battle- field with spiritual landmines and evil traps scattered throughout.
Let us Pray and Let us Go!!!
For the disciples it was time to Go!