June 2, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’” (Luke 24.45-49)
“…and when they prayed and gave lots, it fell upon Matthias to be numbered among the disciples and become one of the twelve.” (Acts 1. 26)
As Peter takes the lead, conferred on him by Jesus at the lakeside (refer to John 21), he reminds all in the room of the position of the disciples. They are called to be leaders. He quotes from Psalm 109 in doing so “appoint one to take his place of leadership.” For three years, Jesus had been mentoring His flock of followers for their moments of truth. Those moments would be in the exercise of their place in the Kingdom of God on earth. We know that He had a circle of twelve and within that a circle of three (Peter, James and John). Beyond that was a supporting community who were benefitting from the same experience as the Twelve. Some may ask why Jesus accepted Judas of Kerioth as one of the Twelve. They may consider well that Jesus would have known his weakness and penchant for anarchy. He was even chosen to be Treasurer of the group; he had a specified task as no other did among them. Was this a choice of redemption and reconciliation? Was it a mistake? Was it an opportunity as one of those difficult life lessons which the disciples themselves would face in their own ministries?
How many of us has be in a similar position when someone we “trusted” proved themselves to be untrustworthy? How did we respond to the revealing of a broken covenant within the ORG chart of our organization? How many of us have actually been that person for one reason or another? How did the group we were a member of respond to us? Did we give them a chance and did we execute our own justice akin, though not as far as if you are reading this, to Judas? I have to believe that Jesus knew what He and God were doing. The choice of Judas was intentional and purposeful. His choice was critical and tragic. What of our choices when it comes to leadership? Is there something from all of this that we can learn and benefit from? As we are in waiting for the moment of empowerment to “go out,” let us take the time of “coming in” to awareness. Jesus did not just prepare twelve men for service. Jesus prepared at least 120 people for service using the model of the twelve. Eventually, those “leaders” would be responsible for passing on the mantel of leadership and the lessons that go with it. It was far more than “tell two people who tell two people, etc.” Now, “one of their own” not of the 12 but the remaining 108 would become a leader of honor and duty. That speaks to the “rest” of us. Our time is coming.
Yes, we each will be and already are leaders. There is always someone following our lead in life. The decisions we make have a rippling effect on those around us. We are never truly independent or apart from the rest. Even when Jesus would go aside to pray He knew He was not alone and on His own. We may say “I am not a leader.” We probably contextualize that statement with the thought of leading a large group. Perhaps, and more than likely, that is not where your leadership strength is intended. But, we are not created by God to be followers only. There is a critical reason why God not only gave us “free will,” to choose for ourselves, but the opportunity to exercise “free will,” what choice will we choose. Tough life lessons! Life lessons intended to point us all in the direction of our eternal life. Which life will we choose? Whom shall we follow? Who shall we lead? Even the messianic prophecy declares “…and a little child shall lead them.” So, it comes to the point in the disciples’ training that they had to exercise their free will. To keep the model intact which Jesus gave them, we must choose another. In the time available to them, until the promised blessing comes, they would work with Matthias to get him up to speed, so to speak. They each had a privileged knowledge and understanding from Jesus to share. It was an intense time of worship, praise, service, prayer and supplication. They not only broke bread but shared the faith. Matthias would gain greatly from those moments as would the rest of that circle of faith. Isn’t that the authentic model for the Church, too? Aren’t we supposed to be building up the body of Christ, the Church, in each of its members until we all reach the full measure and stature of Christ? He and He alone is our identity, our purpose and our being. It is His Spirit that is given to us for our maturity and our ministry. Seems like we have some work to do; some very important work if we intend to make the difference in the world that Jesus has commissioned us for.
OUR CALL TO PRAYER:
Abba, Father, our home is with You on earth as it is in Heaven. Empower us to take Your Word as the critical voice of reformation and reconciliation and speak the truth in love. We know this world is not forever. We know, too, that we are called to make of this world a better place. Yours is the glory and the design that makes the most sense. We offer ourselves to You so that Your will be done and our will be Yours. We offer to you our faithfulness to the task of living in memory of life and death which gives us the freedom to be who You have desired for us to be. It is for we pray In Jesus’ name. AMEN.