by Pastor Kolawole Ola Joseph
LUKE 22:7-13 — THE PRICE OF PROVISION
I love this passage so very much. In verse 8, “Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare for us the Passover meal, that we may eat it.” (AMPC)
Put yourself in the shoes of Peter and John for a minute. What will you do if Jesus asked you that? What will you do if He sends you on errand for which you have none of the resources needed?
— Perhaps, some of us will set up a team from within our contacts to brainstorm on how we could achieve it.
— Some, I reckon, will set out on the journey and trust that since it is Jesus, the materials needed will sort themselves out as they take steps towards doing what He has asked them to do. Of course, when eventually, nothing seems to happen, they will become frustrated.
— Some, I reckon, will go on hunger strike in the name of ‘fasting’ — religiously, I mean. They will abstain from food and keep themselves busy with a season movie with enough episodes to last them till the time they have chosen to break the fast, and then they expect a miraculous provision that will make it possible to do what Jesus has said they should do — but of course, nothing will come from that.
Or, like Peter and John, they will simply do what was recorded in verse 9. “They asked him, “Where do we make the preparations to eat the meal?”” (TPT)
I love that! They simply asked the one Who is sending them on that errand for the details of how to go about it. They began with the ‘location’ question — but in Jesus’ answer, we discover that the provision is also located in the location.
“10 …“When you enter the city, you will find a man carrying a jug of water. Follow him home 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher told us to ask you, “Where is the room I may use to have the Passover meal with my disciples?” ’ 12 He will then take you to a large, fully furnished upstairs room. Make the preparations for us there.” 13 They went and found everything to be exactly like Jesus had prophesied, and they prepared the Passover meal.”
Wow! There’s a very crucial and instructive point here. And I’ve experienced it myself.
Back in 2012, shortly after my NYSC, I became persuaded that God wants me to go into pastoral ministry full time. He gave me the mandate of the call — and it was nothing but glorious. However, my first question to Him was like Peter and John’s. “Lord, WHERE should I begin?” And He made it clear to me.
I wasn’t called at the time to go and start a new ministry. He wanted me to go and report myself to the pastor who had prophetically given me the assignment that led to my discovery of the call. The denomination was very traditional and far from being youth-friendly. My spiritual gift and ministry and that of the pastor are not the same. But Jesus says to go and START there, and there I went. It will be 10 years next year April when I made that move, and I want to testify that I have never regretted it.
The Lord strategically positioned me there because He had made all the resources I needed for my beginning years available at that location. From there He continues to lead me, and I continue to follow.
So two things to note in this passage:
1. When God is sending you on an errand, get clarifications from Him.
2. You will find the allocation to flourish when you are in the location that God has ordained for you.
Don’t hurry out of a country because of its economy. Don’t hurry out of a relationship because of the seeming unpleasantness. Don’t rush into or out of anything; let God order your steps into your destiny; you won’t regret it!
LUKE 23:26 — AFRICA AND THE MISSION OF GOD
In the TPT, verse 26 says “As the guards led Jesus to be crucified, there was an African man in the crowd named Simon, from Libya. He had just arrived from a rural village to keep the Feast of the Passover. The guards laid Jesus’ cross on Simon’s shoulders and forced him to walk behind Jesus, carrying his cross.”
In many of my previous reflections, I have often mentioned something about African Christianity. I use every opportunity I have to let every African Christian know that there is something unique for us to offer to global Christianity for such a time as this. It is not an accident that the continent that had only about 10 million Christians in 1900 now has almost 700 million Christians. NEVER in the history of Christianity has the Christian faith spread so fast within any continent.
I find it interesting that as far back as the day that the price for our living faith was being paid, an African was crucially involved in that narrative as someone who advanced the course of God’s mission being fulfilled in Jesus Christ. That same responsibility is still lying on all believers today — to keep advancing the course of God’s mission through evangelism and soul winning — but each of us has to do it staying while staying true to our identity as Africans.
Learn from American preachers as much as you want, but contextualize what they are teaching and pass it on in uniquely African ways. Here is an excerpt from the conclusion of my recent Master’s Degree Thesis:
“The fullness of the stature of Christ—which is our Christian goal—can only be realised by bringing together the totality of cross-cultural translations of the gospel and the totality of the experiences of different generations of Christians. Consequently, the necessity for African Christians to be both AFRICAN and CHRISTIAN without apology or feeling of inferiority wherever they find themselves, is underscored by the supreme weightiness of God’s Mission on earth. Anything short of this withdraws from the beauty of the mosaic of God’s unique revelation in Christ to different people groups in different places at different eras. Indeed, Christians who give up their cultural identity in exchange for that of another sell themselves short on partaking of the true flavours of the fruit of Christianity among them—and worse, those who make them do so are standing in the way of the Light of the world.”
Do your part in realizing this vision. Don’t be a photocopy of a Western Christian. Be uniquely you. Learn your mother tongue. Learn the culture of your people and Christianize it. Learn indigenous proverbs and use them to God’s glory. Learn — or compose — indigenous songs and use them to theologize the unwavering truths about God.
Be proudly African.
Be proudly Christian.
LUKE 24:38-40 — DOUBT MANAGEMENT
Last week, I heard this interesting story about Steve Jobs, founder of Apple. In Walter Isaacson’s biography titled Steve Jobs, there’s a telling story about why Jobs left the church:
“In July 1968 Life magazine published a shocking cover showing a pair of starving children in Biafra. Jobs took it to Sunday School and confronted the church’s pastor. ‘If I raise my finger, will God know which one I’m going to raise even before I do it?’ The pastor answered, ‘Yes, God knows everything.’ Jobs then pulled out the Life cover and asked, ‘Well, does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?’ ‘Steve, I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.’ Jobs announced that he didn’t want to have anything to do with worshipping such a God, and he never went back to church…”
Imagine if that pastor took more time to help the twelve year old Steve Jobs to better understand that question? Imagine if Steve Jobs went on to be a solid Christian who devoted his ingenuity to developing the Christian faith? Imagine how much impact and influence he could have commanded to the course of God in the world . . .
Well, Thomas also had his doubt, but Jesus showed up for him. When you take your doubts to Jesus, he offers overwhelming assurance! (See Luke 24:38-40) God is big enough to handle your questions; so be honest enough to ask them, till your question marks are straightened out to become exclamation marks! God wants to turn your doubts to convictions. Let Him.
May God bless the facilitators. May God bless GOGO. May God bless His Word in our hearts in Jesus Name.