14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread throughout the entire vicinity. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, being praised by everyone.
If we want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we need to focus on what He had His disciples focus on. We need to watch for what He emphasized, and then emphasize that in our own lives.
The first thing we note is that Jesus only ministered through the power of the Spirit. If we do not also go in the power of the Spirit as we live out our lives as Christians, we will not accomplish anything that glorifies God. Oh, we may build a huge ministry. We may gain a lot of fame and glory for ourselves. But none of it will be honoring or glorifying to God. Everywhere Jesus went, everything He did, every word He spoke was with the power of the Spirit. This should be our goal as well.
Receiving the power of the Spirit comes from spending large amounts of time in prayer and in the Word. Whenever you see men and women in the Bible going forward in the power of the Spirit, you will also discover that they spend hours in prayer and in the Word of God. That is vital. Jesus did this, and because of it, news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. If this was His first year of ministry, there would have been no news to spread. But because He had a year of ministry under His belt, because He had taught and healed and performed miracles, news of Him began to spread throughout Galilee.
The second thing Christ focused on was teaching in the synagogues. Even though the Jews had a temple in Jerusalem, they only went there a few times a year. The synagogues were where they gathered at least weekly on the Sabbath, but often much more frequently. They gathered there for one purpose only: to be taught the Word of God. In fact, sometimes the synagogue was referred to as a “school” or a “house of instruction.”
Some ministries emphasize the power of the Spirit, but minimize the teaching of the Word. On the other hand, there are churches that teach the Word, but do not specifically seek the power of the Spirit. Jesus’ ministry was marked by a perfect balance between the two. He used the power of the Spirit to teach the Word of God for the purpose of making disciples.
Dawson Trotman was the founder of the Navigators, a Christian organization devoted to evangelism and discipleship. Dawson liked to pick up hitchhikers, because it gave him a chance to witness to them. One day early in his ministry, Dawson was driving along and picked up a hitchhiker who swore as he got into the car. Dawson reached into his pocket, pulled out a tract and handed it to the man.
The man looked at it, then looked at Dawson, and said, “Haven’t I seen you before?” As it turned out, Dawson had picked up the man about a year earlier, had witnessed to him, and had led the man to faith in Christ. He then dropped the man off where he was going, and drove off. Now, here the man was, a year later, showing no change, no growth—and in fact was worse off than before.
This event convinced Dawson not only to witness to others, but also to immediately begin discipling them. He said, “You can lead somebody to Christ in anywhere from twenty minutes to a couple of hours, but it takes from twenty weeks to a couple of years to get him on the road to maturity.” That kind of growth comes only through spending time with God through prayer and the Word.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Where are you on the road of discipleship?
- What is the next step you need to take in the maturing process?
- Do you need to receive the power of the Spirit?
Pray for global workers displaced by the pandemic. Many are relocating to new countries or returning after almost a year away. Some are still waiting for next steps. Pray for new relationships, renewed energy and new opportunities. Pray for discernment and wisdom for them as they look for places and people in which God is already working.