Luke 10:1-24 (AD 29)
Jesus sent out seventy-two disciples as warm-up guys for his tour around the country. Taking place about six months of his death, these thirty-six mini-missions were at a specific moment in time and not intended as a blueprint for missionary organisations throughout history. Luke isn’t telling us how me must do missions, but we can obviously learn from what they did:
- Jesus didn’t send anyone out alone (v.1); we all have individual situations and friendships, but any coordinated activity should involve other people for accountability, encouragement and effectiveness.
- Our job, like theirs, is to be heralds for the king, not carriers of our own messages (v.1).
- We’re still the lambs, the world is still the wolves (v.2). The message of the gospel is no more popular now than it was then. Which is to say when people accept it they know it to be lifesaving, joy-giving and glorious, but most people reject it and often actively hate it in the process. Our task is not an easy or relaxing one.
- You are not responsible for anyone else becoming a Christian, you are responsible simply to tell them the bad news followed by the good news (i.e. the gospel) (v.8-12).
- Nothing we will ever achieve or do comes close to the relief, joy and satisfaction we should feel at what God has done for us (v.17-20).
- Everything you do was done in God’s strength, anyway.
- Jesus found joy in the disciples’ joy in their working for and in the power of God (v.17 & 21). God doesn’t just rejoice when someone repents, as if it’s ‘job done and move on’. Our joy in him brings him joy.
- Whether you have common sense, intellect, either, neither or both of those things, ultimately you need God to show you the truth of His Word (v.21-22). That reinforces our responsibility to be faithful in sharing the gospel. It puts the focus on faithfulness to an existing message as being of first importance, and how we do it as being of subsidiary importance. For example, going in pairs rather than alone is a good idea, and more effective. But it’s not critical in the way that the gospel is critical.
- Pray and do (v.2-3)