I love to make lists–on paper–so I can remember what I need to do for one thing, and so I can use a red pen to check items off when they are finished. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day to see those red checks. A list in my phone that gets deleted just doesn’t give me that same great feeling of being productive.
As I have studied through the Gospel of Matthew this year, I am amazed at how much Jesus gets done in a day or a few days. He ministers to crowds, and He singles out one, and then sometimes He takes His disciples off for a chat. In chapter 19, Jesus leaves Galilee. He starts His journey to Jerusalem. On the way, crowds follow and He heals them. The Pharisees ask Him tough questions about divorce. The children were brought to Him so that He could pray for them and lay hands on them. The rich young man asked Him what good deed He could do to have eternal life. Next, he tells a parable about laborers in a vineyard. Then in Matthew 20:17-19, He pulls His disciples aside and foretells His death.
“And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
Notice, He did not give this news to the crowd but to His disciples-those He knew and had a close relationship with. I would love to know the questions they asked and what their responses were to this news. But that is not recorded for us in this passage. What we do we know is Jesus ministered to crowds, but He had a relationship with His disciples. He spent time with them, talked to them, journeyed through life with them.
My prayer is that we would all be disciples–those who love and follow Jesus with our whole hearts–not just part of the crowd that shows up and perhaps even listens, but doesn’t get close. And that we would make disciples as we tell others the good news of the Gospel. Jesus, help us to love You and follow You and spend time with You and listen to You and learn from You as we study the Scripture, and teach others to do the same.