Consulting the Father
Early on in His ministry, Jesus was teaching around the Galilee area. He healed diseases and deformities, forgave sins, cast out demons, corrected the teachers of the law, and preached in the synagogues. Throughout the towns in the region, Jesus’ actions led to a large number of people following him around. Some traveled from across the nation see Him. Their social backgrounds varied significantly, from the high-society Pharisees to the bottom-rung tax collectors. Many were just curious to hear Him speak, others desired to be his disciples – a word which means to be a learner or a pupil. These people wanted to absorb everything they could from Jesus. The best news was that anyone could choose to be a learner…Jesus taught anyone who had “ears to hear”, anyone who was willing to listen.
However, for Jesus to be effective in His ministry both before and after His death, He needed to get specific with a chosen few. Jesus would personally pour into and develop the ones who would eventually be entrusted to carry the gospel message to the rest of the world. This was a monumental choice, a decision that would affect people throughout history.
If we needed to make that large of a decision, how would we approach it? Make a list of pros and cons for each person? Disqualify some based on the length of time spent following Jesus? Make a test for them to take? Ask for resumes? Hire a consultant?
Take a look at Jesus’ approach:
Luke 6:12-13 During those days He went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. When daylight came, He summoned His disciples, and He chose 12 of them – He also named them apostles.
Jesus spent all night consulting with the Father. While we don’t know the specific content or wording Jesus used while talking with the Father, Jesus certainly spent more than just a minute or two asking God for “guidance” and then going on with His own decision-making steps. The Father was an intimate part of the entire process. In one of Jesus’ last earthly prayers, He said to the Father:
John 17:6 I have revealed Your name to the men You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
During Jesus’ all-night prayer session, the Father revealed to Him which 12 from the mass of disciples were going to be Jesus’ apostles. These 12 were still disciples – they were still learners – but now they would carry the distinction of being apostles, which means they were specifically identified as a delegate or messenger. These were the ones Jesus would purposely develop so they would eventually act as His primary representatives.
I’ve pulled few all-nighters in my life – for conversation with others, writing papers, or working on projects…but I’ve never stayed up all night to consult with God. Looking back into my own history, perhaps the direction I needed for some of the “big” decisions in life would have been clearer if I had consulted with God by more than a cursory prayer.
Over and over in Jesus’ life, we see that His time with the Father kept him connected and on target with His given ministry. Jesus did the Father’s Will because He spent significant time with the Father and trusted the Father’s decisions. We would be wise to invest a similar emphasis in face-time with the Father before making decisions in our personal lives and our God-given ministries that will affect the generations to come.