Small People, Big God
Dear God, I rejoice and praise You that Your love is forever, yet I experience it anew every day.
Read Luke 10:17-24
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love” (Eph. 1:4 The Message).
Seventy-two ordinary people took the message of the Kingdom of God into the communities around them and witnessed something many servants of God in earlier centuries had longed to see but never did (24). What unfolded was momentous, something of cosmic significance. No wonder their participation in Jesus’ mission filled them with joy (17). Jesus shared their rejoicing and excitement (21), but he also saw the need to caution them (20). They were not to be seduced by the spectacular, a very easy and understandable mistake. Rather, it was their new status that was truly cause for celebration–as faithful followers of Jesus their names were now “written in heaven.”
At the heart of the message of the Kingdom is the divine offer of love and forgiveness, renewal and hope–of intimacy with God through Christ (22). The Kingdom is fundamentally relational. Without denigrating the need to learn all that we can about the character and work of God through the study of Scripture, history and theology, we must remember this: “Christianity does not mean knowing about Christ; it means knowing Christ; and to do that requires not earthly wisdom but heavenly grace” (William Barclay). But as we have already seen (13-16), there is a tragic flip side to this–the flat rejection of God’s loving initiatives will have dire consequences. Are we sometimes in danger of trivializing this? Compared with the learned religious scholars in their community, the seventy-two were regarded as of little significance (21). Yet because they were unencumbered by an inflated view of their own wisdom they were better qualified to serve God. Sound thinking, careful planning and adequate training are all necessary in effective mission, but far, far more important is the prayer that flows from those who keenly feel their weakness.
What work is Jesus giving you? Does it heighten your dependence on him? Does it bring you great joy?
Father, I know that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. May I embrace and understand Your view of things, and not be deceived by the world.
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