January 26, 2023
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 NLT
Many, perhaps most, of the skills in life that do us the most good and give us the most pleasure are ones we desired and learned because we observed someone we loved and admired doing those things. We learn to use eating utensils through observation. A baby with older siblings she sees walking will generally develop that ability earlier than otherwise. Even the hobbies and careers we choose are influenced by what we see and want to emulate.
Jesus knew this. It was His primary and most effective teaching method with His disciples. Mark 3:14 records that He chose twelve “to be with Him.” Of course, He taught and explained many things about the kingdom of God, but without question it was the “being with Him” that was primary. The way He lived, the character He displayed, the choices He made—these were what shaped the disciples into world-changers. As powerful and profound as were His words, the words were not what set them and subsequently the world on fire. It was His life, death, and resurrection, all of which they saw up close and personal. They were so accustomed to doing normal life with Him that the disciples who were grieving in Emmaus after Jesus’ death suddenly realized the man who was eating with them was the resurrected Jesus by the way He broke the bread. They KNEW Him. He was God made visible. And they blazed into the world with red-hot courage and power.
They didn’t develop the skills that would turn the world upside down by attending conferences and practicing skills. They watched Jesus and wanted to be like Him. They saw Him pray many times and then saw what happened after He prayed. Luke records that they waited this time until He had finished praying and then asked Him to teach them to pray like that. They already knew theory and ritual about prayer. They were Jewish boys, raised under the law and the teachings at the synagogue. But they saw how He prayed and how different it was from what they experienced. He wasn’t tied to a schedule. He was tethered to a real relationship with the Father.
They learned to serve as they served with Him, to humble themselves to even wash feet because He did it for them. Everything that distinguished their lives even after Jesus returned to heaven they learned through being with Him.
As we follow Jesus’ command to love the world and make disciples, we will succeed as we do as He did. Be WITH people. The message is still better caught than simply taught. It’s what makes the invisible King and kingdom visible.
- Who can I “be with” to make Jesus visible?