Luke 9:1 Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. 3 He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. 5 Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere… 10 On their return the apostles told Jesus all they had done. He took them with him and withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.
In this passage from Luke, Jesus invited his core 12 disciples into a new phase of training, sending them out to do what they had seen Jesus do – proclaim the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. When they returned, Jesus intended to spend some time alone with them in Bethsaida – but the crowds followed them anyway.
What speaks to me this morning is Jesus’ response to the crowds. Instead of sending them away to do what he’d planned, Jesus changed his plans. He embraced the crowds as he, “spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.” This sort of thing happens a lot in the gospels. Instead of being annoyed by interruptions from desperate people, Jesus changes his plans to address their needs. Why? Because ministering to desperate people was a higher priority than whatever he’d intended to do at the moment.
Jesus is continually saying “no” to his own plans in order to say “yes” to the Father’s plans.
This is a major learning point for me. Like you, I’m a pretty busy person. There are more demands on my time than hours in the day, so I have to bring structure to my day. This is a good thing in most cases. Where it becomes a problem is when I’m so focused on my plan for the day I’m reluctant to embrace an unexpected interruption. That’s not what Jesus did.
Jesus was always open to a holy interruption.
Lord Jesus, you were clear in your purpose, but flexible with your time. Give us grace to embrace the holy interruptions you bring to our lives. Amen.