WE ARE ALL ON A MISSION
Father, plant your words of truth deep within me, always ready to encourage me, and always ready for me to share with others who need to hear them.
Read LUKE 10:1-16
Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two
10 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.[b]
16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘May I run the race before me, / strong and brave to face the foe, / looking only unto Jesus / as I onward go.’1
Jesus’ followers keep increasing in number. He commissions not just the 12 but 72 more disciples! And he sends them all. From Luke’s account, they are being sent into Samaria, for reasons explained in Jesus’ outburst. Very few Jews in Galilee had recognized the Messiah foretold by their own prophets – same as in Bethsaida where he fed the five thousand and in Capernaum where the disabled man was let down through the roof. We can learn much from Jesus’ instructions. Churches like mine seem to have abandoned the practice of sending out members door to door. Are we in danger of forsaking our mission entirely? Does financial support for mission and church organizations relieve us of personal responsibility?
What does Jesus say? Well, 12 crucial things.2 ‘The harvest is plentiful’ (the world needs the church’s mission). ‘… the workers are few’ (there is more work than laborers). ‘Ask the Lord of the harvest’ (prayer does matter). ‘Go!’ (all are sent, not just high-profile people). ‘… like lambs among wolves’ (God’s mission is vulnerable; the forces of evil are real). ‘…do not greet anyone on the road’ (we need to be single-minded). ‘…say Peace to this house”’ (be a peacemaker). ‘Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you’ (be gracious; accept the hospitality offered, particularly by culturally different people). ‘…tell them, “The kingdom of God has come near”’ (be transparent about your motives). ‘…when … you are not welcomed’ (we won’t always succeed). ‘… say, “Even the dust from your town we wipe from our feet”’ (put failure behind you and keep trying). ‘…the kingdom of God has come near’ (we are not alone; God is always near). Jesus’ principles guide us in every generation. The context, means, and forms of mission will change, but its basis in God’s redemptive love remains constant.
May we rely on the Lord of the church’s mission to teach us how to be witnesses, sent out once more into the world, feeling God’s constant presence on the road.
Dear Jesus, I look to you to help me be and do all that you call me to—with confidence, with courage, with persistence. Help me be a faithful witness for you, trusting you to work, not just in me, but through me.
1 Katie Wilkinson, 1859–1928, ‘May the mind of Christ’ 2 R Alan Culpepper, The Gospel of Luke: The New Interpreter’s Bible, Abingdon, 1995, p222
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