This Devotional series which is part of the Clayton Church Value-Based Discipleship series, which was launched on Sunday 23 July 2017.
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them:
Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.
So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 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. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
When you enter a house, first say, “Peace to this house.” If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, “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.” I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
“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 repetned long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.
“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said,
I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
Then he turned to his disciples and said privately,
Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
The words of Jesus clearly stand out as the key stand-out of this passage. His instructions are to simply go. Take nothing, and do not get distracted. In terms of being equipped, Jesus is clear that the disciples had everything they needed to know. Identifying the person of peace as the initial step would then provide a base for the journeying disciples. That person of peace would become host to all teaching of the Gospel for that village/town. Much emphasis was placed not just on teaching but also healing, or the performance of miracles.
Retelling the story for someone else (you – my audience). For the purposes of this exercise, I will focus on Luke 10:1-24, as the longer passage, since it covers most of the same content as Luke 9.
Jesus empowered his followers to go and visit all the towns ahead of his impending visit. In commissioning the 72, he taught that their role in this season was privileged in that they, as workers, bringing in the harvest were specifically selected and appointed. Not just that, but the caution was also given that the 72 would be vulnerable like lamb among a wary and skeptical world (wolves). In each village, the followers were to seek out and stay with a household of peace, from where the local ministry would harvest and reap the fruit of the Gospel. As part of this strategy and approach, Jesus taught them to respect the customs and hospitality of their host in the form of food and drink. Demonstrate the power and nature of the kingdom of God not just by teaching, but by showing the healing power of God at work.
In contrast, where a town is hostile to the visiting followers, warn the inhabitants that their rejection of the Gospel will ultimately be meted out by the righteousness of God. This future judgment and condemnation by God would be so great and devastating that the stories of the past where God judged places like Sodom would pale in contrast.
The testimonies of the 72 on their return were indeed joyous news to Jesus. Such was the inspiration and momentum that Jesus gave full acknowledgement to God, praising Him and exalting Him. He also cautioned that the followers should not get too carried away with celebrating their victory over the spirits, but focus on the heavenly rewards. In praising the Father, this revelation is used to signify the close relationship between Father and Son. The reinforcement of the triune relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit is highlighted in the way the Father and Son know each other. This knowledge that Jesus shared with the disciples was indeed a tremendous blessing for them given past prophets and kings would have highly desired that kind of revelation.
What I Discovered
Insights revealed by this passage include:
- Followers, when bringing the gospel should and can have faith that God goes with them, providing for their every need
- Followers should not get distracted from the purpose and calling of spreading the gospel – identifying and immediately going to the home of the person of peace
- The hospitality of the person of peace will be rewarded by God’s presence in the household, bringing blessings in the form of healing as well as the teaching of God’s Word.
- God knows not everyone will accept His message of the Gospel – for those who do, he joins with us in rejoicing, but the consequences of rejecting the Gospel are also considerable and final.
- The motivation for disciples in sharing and spreading the Gospel should be focused on eternity and heavenly rewards – ultimately to the glory and honour of God.
Obedience Step “I Will”
I will be more discerning to identify persons of peace who God has prepared to receive the Gospel. I will also be mindful that my current engagement with individuals who are not believers and neither are they persons of peace may be a fruitless exercise which will not translate into advancement of the Kingdom of God.
Today’s devotion is summarised in the single design graphic above, which has been added to my Threadless Artist Shop under the collection Discipleship Devotionals. An evolution in the design approach is emerging, whereby the skill of creating custom shapes has been acquired – which will help improve the quality of designs developed. The design improvements are not just limited to the techniques and tools, but the sourcing of content has also tapped into existing source libraries of images which are importantly, available for use in my designs.