There are now five short days until I leave with my friends for SE Asia. The preparation is nearly complete. Our hearts and minds are being equipped for the work God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish. It will soon be time to see what God’s plan has been all along.
I read the passage of Jesus sending out the seventy-two in Luke 10 again recently. As I read this passage I was stunned that I didn’t see a phrase before. “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.” (Luke 10:1 – NIV) Did you catch it?
Jesus sent these disciples to prepare the towns and villages for His arrival. They went before Jesus to share a message of hope with the lost and hurting of their world. They were sharing that these towns and villages could anticipate a wonderful experience when Jesus arrived. That was what the seventy-two were sent ahead to do.
But Jesus didn’t send these men into the world without a message or without instruction. Jesus continued for fifteen more verses with these instructions. Let’s see what Jesus told them.
Jesus began His instruction with a verse you’ll recognize. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Luke 10:2 – NIV) Jesus’ first instruction was to pray that God would send willing hearts to work.
Jesus’ next instructions were for them not take anything with them or speak to people along the road. “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.” (Luke 10:4 – NIV) I believe Jesus wanted these disciples to understand God’s provision. That when they were doing God’s work, He would provide all they needed (I have learned this lesson in mighty ways).
Jesus also wanted this group of disciples to understand the urgency of the message. Stopping along the way would only hinder the message delivery.
The passage continues with instructions like remaining in one household (Luke 10:5-7); how to treat a town that accepts them (Luke 10:8); and how to treat a town that doesn’t accept them (Luke 10-12).
Jesus also told them what to do in each town and what their message was to be. “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’” (Luke 10:9 – NIV)
What a mission! What a message! What a task!
But Jesus gave these seventy-two men all authority to speak and be His spokesmen. His final words to them were, “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16 – NIV)
Amazing things were accomplished on this journey. The men returned with joy and told Jesus stories of what had happened. Why even the demons submitted to them when Jesus’ name was spoken. What a wonderful experience!
Jesus was also full of joy. The task had been accomplished. The message had been spoken. The towns and villages were prepared for His entrance. Now the spiritual future of the world was in His hands.
Jesus didn’t need seventy-two men to prepare the way. Jesus doesn’t need me to tell His message. Jesus wants me to be His spokeswoman. He wants me to know how important it is to depend upon God for all that I need. He wants me to know the excitement of sharing the Gospel with a lost or hurting soul. He wants me see the marvelous things He will accomplish through me because I said “yes” to His call. He desires that I be filled with joy because of His salvation.
I can do all the packing and organizing I want, but He is the One preparing my heart.
I don’t know what lessons you might take away from this post, but I know what I’ve learned. That I’m being sent ahead of Jesus for a purpose. To bathe SE Asia in prayer. And through that prayer, this area will be prepared for Jesus’ entrance.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,