“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1-2)
Jesus starts in Luke 9 by sending out the Twelve. Previously, he had been the one going to town to town, healing and spreading the good news. Now he is enlisting help. This is our goal, that we will not only minister to others, but that we will send out others to minister.
Something else that struck me in Luke 9 is that three times in this chapter we see Jesus withdrawing from the public. My thought is that Jesus is getting ready to change the direction of his ministry, and he is preparing himself mentally to do that.
Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida (v. 10)
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him… (v. 18)
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray (v. 28)
Prayer is what helps Jesus to not just focus on preaching and healing, but on his mission to give his life. Here is what Jesus said after he prayed:
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (v. 22 He said this after he had been praying in private.)
“Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” (v. 44 He said this after he came down off the mountain.)
My prayer must be the same way. I can go down my list of all the things I want God to do, and all the ways I want Him to help me. But prayer needs to help me to die to self, to see that my mission is a serious and costly thing. As it did for Jesus, my prayer can empower me to go forth in a new direction. Look at what Jesus did next in Luke 9:
“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (v. 51)