Discover Jesus’ power and blessing – Luke 9:1-17

I sometimes get social media adverts for extreme events promising to teach me how to discover Jesus’ power and blessing. “Unleash the Spirit on your ministry…”  “Take your ministry to the next level…”

I’ve not spent my money there yet.

But here in Luke 9, Jesus is teaching his apostles a great deal about himself and what it means to serve him. It turns out, they really will discover Jesus’ power and blessing – not least through discovering how Jesus works through us to achieve his own purposes.

So, without drama or over-sell, you’re invited also to discover Jesus’ power and blessing in your own life today.

These notes accompany a sermon on YouTube delivered at Bromborough Evangelical Church in February 2023. You can find more in the series in our Sermon Index.

Discover Jesus’ power (1-6)

We’ll see that Jesus’ power is displayed when you’re serving by faith.

Remember, 11 of these 12 Apostles would found the church in Acts. They’re disciples, first and foremost.

  • A disciple is a follower, a learner, under disciplined teaching.
  • And in these verses Jesus is giving his disciples a learning moment.

He teaches them two things: At a basic level, he’s preparing them for service; teaching them what it means to be in Christian service.

But more importantly, he’s leading them to ask themselves yet again, “Who, then, is this man?”

  • They asked it when he calmed the storm.
  • Herod will ask the same question in v9.
  • It’s building up to the moment Jesus himself will put that question directly to his disciples, the Twelve.

So read Luke 9:1-6.

In Luke 22:36, on the night before his death, he gives different instruction: To take a money-bag, a travelling bag, etc. It’s a clear biblical mandate that Christian workers are to be paid for the work they do. So what we have in Luke 9 is a unique set of restrictions for a specific teaching point. So what are they to learn?

Depending on God

First, they’re to go, depending on God. Derek Kidner commented on one of the psalms, “It’s one thing to glory in the might of God, another to venture forth in it.”

  • You can celebrate and delight in all sorts of things that Jesus has done and can do.
  • But to actually step out yourself, in faith, doing something you’re uncomfortable doing, but doing it anyway for God – that is faith in serving, learning to depend on God.

They were told, “Whatever house you enter, stay there.”

  • Learning dependency on God means learning to accept his sufficiency too.
  • They weren’t to go looking for something more fancy, more modern / traditional. Serve where you land. Can you?

How will it go for you, if you step out for God, doing something you know he wants you to do, but are afraid of doing it? That’s what the disciples were to learn: Go; depend on God.

You might ask, how does that dependency work? How does God provide for you?

  • We’re not all called to be missionaries, pastors, etc.
  • The Twelve were to live by the hospitality of God’s people towards God’s people.
    • There will be times when you’re sent to a task.
    • There are other times when you’re called to enable someone else’s ministry. 
    • Both are equally necessary in God’s work.
    • We are all used by him to do his work.

But you don’t go alone or unaided. That was the second lesson.

Delegated by Christ

Go; delegated by Christ.

Don’t miss the amazing statement in v1: “He gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases.” He has power and authority in himself, and – more – he can give that power and authority to others. Who, then, is this man?

As you go out to do Christ’s work, he delegates the necessary power and authority to do it. How encouraging is that? But as you’re delegated by Christ, you can expect the same treatment he received!

  • Some will reject you. But notice that when the apostles were rejected that didn’t reflect badly on them. 
  • Equally, in those places where they were accepted they couldn’t claim success either. All was delegated.

Which means that when people do reject you as you speak about faith in Christ, those people are themselves rejected by God.

But what if you’ve been serving God in many ways for a while and you’re just plain tired?

Many churches have lost helpers and volunteers through the pandemic; people realised how tiring and consuming their church work had become.

It’s one thing to be tired in church work, another to tire of it.

  • You can tire when you’re giving all the time. I tire.
  • You can anyone who is constantly giving time into the church.
  • It helps to have more volunteers to share the work.

Yet there’s even more to help. We’ll come back to ‘tiredness.’

Discover Jesus’ nature (7-9)

While the apostles are out on their delegated ministry, we get a cameo appearance from Herod. You, the reader, are challenged to discover Jesus’ nature by searching for truth, not just relying on incorrect hearsay. Herod, it seems, had heard about Jesus. He was curious.

Read Luke 9:7-9.

Notice a few things:

  • Luke doesn’t give us the details of John the Baptist’s death (see Mark for more).
  • It’s interesting that there were mixed reports about who Jesus is. He was making news everywhere.
  • Also notice how ridiculous stories about Jesus could take hold even while he walked the earth (and they didn’t even have Twitter!): Who would suggest that he was John the Baptist back from the dead? Stupid idea.

We’re told that Herod was “perplexed” and it’s clear he’s not the only one. But there’s no real enquiry.

If you look closely, and ask around and listen carefully, as Luke did (“carefully investigated everything from the very first” 1:3), you’d be more than mildly curious.

  • Jesus calmed a storm by rebuking it. 
  • He commanded demons and they were unable to resist.
  • Jesus healed people instantly of terrible illness & disease.
  • He could even – say it with awe! – raise the dead.
  • “Who then is this man?”

Curiosity is not enquiry

Plenty of people have wondered. I remember wondering about it myself, long before I became a Christian.

What did he actually do that caused a whole religion to be centred around him?

Lots of people are curious – about Jesus, about what goes on here each Sunday, about the Bible. But most are like Herod; they leave it at curiosity. There’s no effort to find the truth.

The answer is available. You can know who Jesus is and even know him yourself.

“Who then is this man?” is the question in these chapters. It’s so important he’ll force the question on his own disciples in verse 20 (next time). It’s the question you must address if you are to know God.

Why? Because there is no other name under heaven by which you can be saved (Acts 4:12).

So know this:

  • You need saving, because your sin condemns you to hell.
  • Jesus came into the world specifically to save you. He chose to go to the cross to take the punishment you deserve for your sin.
  • The time for “curiosity” is over.
  • Today is the day of your salvation. Repent of your sin, ask God for forgiveness, and he will hear you and you will live.

Get past hearsay. Discover Jesus’ nature for yourself as revealed in the Bible. He is the Son of God Most High who died to save you from the consequence of your sin: He loves you.

Then, with his disciples: 

Discover Jesus’ abundant blessing (10-17)

One remarkable event remains before the Apostles declare Jesus to be the Messiah. In the feeding of the 5,000, the Twelve learn that there’s nourishment in serving.

First, they return from their mini-ministry-tour. Read Luke 9:10.

A quiet time of retreat with Jesus would do anyone good. But there’s a change of plan: Read Luke 9:11.

  • There’s a simple profound truth here about Jesus: He will not turn anyone away who comes to him.
  • Jesus is never too busy for you. He will always welcome you.
  • (Incidentally, please never feel you can’t contact me because you think I’m “busy.” You are God’s child; if I’m to be about the Master’s business then I’m to be about you.)

We read about the feeding of the 5,000 because that’s the miracle that catches the eye – but really this is about the Twelve. Read Luke 9:12-16.

Most people in the crowd wouldn’t even know there’d been a miracle. But the Twelve did, so what were they learning? Same as before: They learned dependence on Jesus and they learned what it is to be delegated by Jesus.

  • They couldn’t feed 5,000 men+ with just 5 loaves and two fish. It’s absurd.
  • But when Jesus told them to get everyone to sit down in groups, they obeyed. They learned dependence (even if they had doubts as the minutes ticked by…).
  • And Jesus didn’t feed anyone directly; he passed the food to the Twelve and they had the pleasure of serving the crowd. Jesus delegated the work, but it was still his work!

A special lesson for the Twelve, not the 5,000

The Twelve learned something special: The joy and privilege of bringing the nourishment and blessing of Jesus to others!

  • Every pastor and Bible teacher has it.
  • As do Sunday school teachers, ladies’ group leaders, children’s workers.
  • Also parents and grandparents as you teach Christ to your children and see him work in them. Joy and privilege.

Because although that lesson was first learned by Apostles, they learned it because they would be the fledgling church in Acts. All God’s people are to pass on the nourishment and blessing of Jesus to others. You too. Take out the bread of life.

People are starving for hope, joy, peace, love, community. Jesus is the nourishing bread of life that brings all that and more. Feed them. Show them Jesus.

And you will be abundantly blessed when you see people satisfied with Christ: That’s was v17 is about. Read Luke 9:17. The blessings to the 5,000 overflowed to a basket of leftovers for each of the Twelve.


Again, some of you will ‘kind of’ agree, but you just feel so tired.

Maybe tired in ministry – that’s normal, surely, for any work. But also tired of ministry.

  • Sometimes you drift and find yourself doing things just because you do – you’re on the rota this week, etc.
  • Service apart from Christ can become just work, a chore.
  • You get tired, bored, in need of revitalisation (good!)
    • But you look for it in the wrong places: Novelty, change, something outside Christian experience.

What the Twelve learned that day is that nourishment is found in Christ, and there is abundant blessing in serving others under his delegation.

  • Let’s be clear: Everyone needs rest. Christ is rest.
  • If you only work, you’ll burn out. 
  • If you only rest (never work for Christ), you’re burdening others and missing out on Christ’s blessing.

You say you’re too old, or have no time, or are too busy. “Whatever house you enter, stay there.” Serve where the Lord puts you with the gifts he has given.

You wonder how serving tea, or greeting at the door, or helping Sunday School, or anything else will nourish you?

  • Seen as a job, a task, a chore, you’ll get tired of it.
  • So pray: “Lord, I do this for you. Use me. Bless others.” See everything for the spiritual opportunity it is.
  • Even the act of praying is blessing – time with God is never wasted.

Above all, remember that service for Jesus is never your glory or success, or your measure of shame or failure. Your blessing is in the serving, in the delegated power of Jesus, overflowing in the nourishment of Christ himself to you.

So: Think highly of Christ.

Serve him gladly. Rest if you need to. Step up where you’ve stepped back (possibly to prevent others from burning out).

Above all, discover Jesus’ power and blessing in service.