As often as I’ve complained about how small our church is over the past year, God has responded with these words from Zechariah 4:10a, “Who dares despise the day of small things?” Everything, whether it ends up big or small, starts as something small. In fact, the Bible shows us several examples of big things that started out as something small. The Jewish people where saved several times by a small remnant: the famine that happened when Joseph was second-in-command of Egypt (“But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Genesis 45:7); after the Exile, only a small remnant of the Jewish people returned to Jerusalem and the land of Israel (“Though your people be like the sand by the sea, Israel, only a remnant will return.” Isaiah 10:22a); all leading up to Jesus, who changed the world beginning with only twelve disciples.
Let’s take a quick look in the book of Luke and see how Jesus was able to quickly multiply His ministry. In Luke 5:1-11, we see Jesus call Peter (Simon), James, and John. Some of the other Gospels go into more detail about the calling of the other disciples, but in Luke 6:12-16 all twelve are named. It is important to note that in this passage, Jesus designates the Twelve as “apostles,” which means “sent one” or “one who is sent out.” Jesus’ plan to multiply His Kingdom was not to become an awesome preacher or to do a bunch of miracles and therefore attract people to Him, instead, He chose twelve fairly unlikely people (fisherman, tax collectors, etc…) and sent them out to multiply His Kingdom.
In Luke 9:1-6, Jesus puts this plan into action by sending the twelve apostles out two at a time with orders to “to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:2). What the apostles did must have been successful because in Luke 10:1-23 He sends out seventy-two other disciples to do the same thing. If you do the math, the twelve in Luke 9 become seventy-two in Luke 10 by each pair of apostles leading twelve others to Jesus (6×12=72 for those who like equations). The twelve apostles took the authority that Jesus had invested in them and the assignment He had given them and in short order returned to Jesus with seventy-two new disciples.
I believe that this is still Jesus’ plan for multiplying His Kingdom here on earth. And it just so happens to be His plan for growing Grace and Truth Community Church. In Matthew 28:16-20 Jesus gives the command to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). That command wasn’t just for the people present when He spoke it, it’s for everyone who believes in Him. We’re all apostles. We’re all being sent out by Jesus to make disciples. We may not go two-by-two into strange areas (some will, though), but Jesus has already given us mission fields in our homes, schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces. In these places there are people who don’t know Jesus and it is our job to lead them to Him.
Jesus has given us this command to go and make disciples, but He isn’t sending us out alone. In Luke 10:1 Jesus sent the disciples “to every town and place where he was about to go.” Jesus was already at work, was working, and was going to continue to work in each of the places He sent them, meaning that the disciples weren’t cold-calling, they were just joining in the work that Jesus was doing. And in Matthew 28:20, Jesus says, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Even if we’re the only person in our house who believes in Jesus, or the only person at work who does, we’re not alone, Jesus is always with us!