Have you ever seen a "Help Wanted" sign? It generally means that a business is in need of employees. When you apply for the job, you generally want to know what the job entails, what are the qualifications and what you will be paid. In the same way, the employer has a certain set of criteria they are looking for in potential employees. In today's passage, Jesus puts out a bit of a "Help Wanted" sign in our passage this morning. Previously, in Luke 9:1-2 Jesus sent out his 12 disciples to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Now in this passage, Jesus sends out 72. Most commentators believe that this number represents the nations of the world mentioned in Genesis 10 and is symbolic of completeness. Before, Jesus just sent the apostles but now, He sends everyone.
In essence Jesus is saying that there is a big job to be done and help is wanted! One of the first priorities of the job is prayer. Luke 10:2 "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." The second priority is to go. Luke 10:3 "Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves."
What is the job that they are to do? In Luke 10:5,9, they are directed to bring peace, heal the sick and proclaim "The kingdom of God has come near to you." The message of the kingdom is one of peace, healing and wholeness. As Mr. Jason Kuo mentioned last week, "The gospel is about making broken things whole again."
With whom will they do their job? According to Luke 10:1, they are not to go it alone but instead to go out in pairs, going ahead of Jesus, preparing the way. They are to enjoy the hospitality of the people they meet and build relationships with them, not hopping from house to house.
But rejection may happen. If that occurs, they don't have take it personally (Luke 10:16,22), but instead stand on the truth. "The kingdom of God has come near" can mean both blessing and judgement. Blessings to those who receive the news gladly but the consequence of judgement for those who refuse the good news.
In Luke 10:17-21, the disciples return with joy from the mission and Jesus shares in their joy. Nothing can beat the feeling that comes when you work hard together with others on an important task. Will you respond to Jesus' call to help share the message of the gospel?
But also we have to be careful of the tendency to overwork when we focus on the wrong things. Luke 10:38-42 is the familiar story of Mary and Martha. Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Luke 10:40 "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" Jesus gently chides Martha and reminds her that Mary is not being lazy but actually has chosen what is better. To sit at the Lord's feet, listening!
Will you pray over this list this week?
- Pray to the Lord of the harvest for more workers
- Where may God be sending you? With whom? Who may God be calling you to send?
- How do you need to keep the "Mary" perspective?