The Growing Resistance Against the Son of Man, cont’d. Luke 9:51-11:54
Luke 10:1-24-The Ministry of the 70
Luke 10:1-24-Jesus appoints 70 people to go out in His name ahead of Him into the cities that He was coming to…in groups of two. Luke is the only Gospel that records this mission endeavor. Jesus’ following must have become quite large if there were 70 men that could be sent out.
Luke 10:1-16-He tells them that, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” They are to find a “man of peace” (a Hebrew saying simply meaning a “peaceful man”) and stay with him. They are to say to the people of the cities, “the kingdom of God has come near to you”, meaning that they are witnessing the work of God right before their eyes as they would heal the sick and cast out demons in Jesus’ name. If they were not received by the people, they were to move on. Their responsibility was to be faithful to do what Jesus had commanded. The response to what they did was the responsibility of the people who saw and heard. If they were not received…then they were to kick the dust off of their shoes as they left the town (this was a demonstration that they had completed their assignment and were free from any additional responsibility) and then proclaim that God will judge them for their failure to respond. Sodom had rejected the message of God and look how it had been held accountable (cf. Genesis 19). And now, the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida have not responded appropriately and they will be held to a greater level of accountability than Tyre and Sidon because they had a greater level of revelation. And so it will also be true for Capernaum. When the people of these cities reject the message of these men, they are rejecting Jesus…and that means that they are rejecting God, Himself.
Luke 10:17-24-When they returned they gave a report. They told Jesus that they even had power over demonic influences. Jesus told them that He was aware of this and that as they were casting out these demonic forces the very power of Satan was being broken. This authority over demonic power came from Him. However, Jesus warned them to not get caught up in the sensationalism of what had happened, but to rejoice because they are a part of His kingdom. Jesus tells the disciples that only He determines who will see and understand the things that He has shown them.
Prayer: Lord, don’t let me focus my faith on the wrong thing. Or, to base my spiritual health on the wrong standard. These men could have easily become infatuated by their sensational involvement with demonic powers and allowed that element of their ministry to determine their attitudes towards what it means to be spiritual. Even today, we still have to be wary of allowing those things that are thrilling and exciting from becoming the measure of our success. And there are other things that can become disproportionately important…even good things (the size of our church, the blessings we receive, the effectiveness of our efforts, the answers to our prayers). Lord, please help me to be mindful of the difference between the results of our ministry, and our relationship with You. As You told these men, “do not rejoice in this…but that your names are recorded in heaven” (:20). Help me to keep my eyes on You, and You alone. Please reveal Yourself and Your truth to me…that I may worship You ever more truly.