Theme: The Puzzle
Puzzle theory (okay, I made that term up) says start by finding all the pieces with a straight edge. Once they are separated from the others, begin to assemble the frame. Now, look for similar colors and group them. This will help you start to form the rest of the picture. Get some soda or coffee and be ready to spend hours concentrating. Once you have completed the puzzle you will have a great sense of accomplishment. The hours of work are then followed by the two minutes it takes to tear the puzzle apart and put it back in the box because you need your kitchen table again.
Life is like the puzzle. It takes a long time to get it in order, but sometimes feels like it can take minutes to fall apart. Not fair? It isn't, but like my High School gym teacher said every time we complained, "Life isn't fair." Sunday, we looked at the demon-possessed man. He had a life until he was chock full of demons. We are not told how he got there, but his life was a puzzling mess. Then Jesus arrives on the scene at casts the demons out. He is completely transformed.
· The wild man sits at Jesus’ feet.
· The naked man is wearing clothes.
· The demented man is in his right mind.
· The destructing man is at peace.
· The chained man is calm.
In a moment, Jesus puts the pieces of this man back together, making a complete, whole picture from a complicated mess. Sounds great! But it's not the norm at all.
Then we are told in the next verses, "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 (NIV)
The immediate question may be, "Was this for the Twelve or us too?" Remember, Luke is telling us what happened. He is not applying it to our lives today. If you continue to read Luke's gospel, Jesus sends his followers out on different missions with different instructions. He is preparing them to move from followers to doers. What is clear is that Jesus sends.
When God sends you to a puzzle bigger than you can handle, it will challenge you. It will grow you. It will make you depend on God. My advice, like putting a puzzle together, take it one piece at a time. God will lead you and direct you. Do what you know to do first and then consistently keep at it until the picture becomes clear. Our Scripture today comes from the appearance of Jesus to the eleven after His resurrection. In this Scripture, Jesus gives his followers a puzzle, but also a promise - I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Scripture: Matthew 28:16-20
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Prayer: The Puzzle
“Jesus, you promised to be with the eleven and I choose to believe you are with me as well. Doubt can creep into my mind because the situations I face can be puzzling. I am glad to hear even some of the eleven doubted. I ask for faith, wisdom and courage to go and make disciples of all nations. I know this will take me out of my comfort zone. It may likely take me into the chaos zone. But regardless, I want to make a difference for You. So help me in the puzzling situations of life to obey everything you have commanded me to do. In Jesus' Name, Amen."