Seventy divided by two (part 2)

The Mission

In my previous article I shared a few thoughts about the disciples in Luke 10:1-24 and in this article I would like to concentrate on verses 2-9:

(Luk 10:2 KJV) Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
(Luk 10:3 KJV) Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
(Luk 10:4 KJV) Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
(Luk 10:5 KJV) And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
(Luk 10:6 KJV) And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.
(Luk 10:7 KJV) And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
(Luk 10:8 KJV) And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
(Luk 10:9 KJV) And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

When we listen to our modern day evangelists we are reminded that there is a huge harvest and that we need to pray for more labourers. However in many cases we kind of skip the next few verses and we do not pay much attention to them. After all we are going to take our “authority”, and claim “our victory!” Somehow it has escaped us that the Lord Jesus said we would be going as lambs among wolves. Evidently as far as God was concerned we as Christians appear to be lambs when compared with the world. To my mind I see a lamb as being vulnerable and an easy prey for wolves. This was clearly a warning to disciples in His day and should still be a warning for us today. There is nothing wrong with the concept of authority and a positive confession, but when this takes the place of the reality that Christians are in fact the enemy of the world, then we need to be more circumspect in how we deal with people and the world. What is also of importance is the command that Jesus gave regarding financial support in the ministry. Clearly the disciples were not expected to have elaborate provision. In some instances evangelists or guest speakers expect five star treatment whilst here we read of Jesus sending people out into the harvest virtually penniless. Is it possible that the ministry has now become an industry as opposed to a calling from God?

The disciples were sent to houses in the cities and towns which stresses the fact that the gospel is a personal message to individuals. Whilst I thank God for the fact that we can share His Word via media channels such as the radio, television and huge open air rallies, these can never replace the challenge of the gospel to individuals to commit their lives to Christ. Another important thing to note is the fact that in spreading the gospel there is a need to have fellowship with those whom we are trying to reach. “Remaining, eating, and drinking” somehow does not fit into the picture of our modern approach to evangelism. By removing the whole concept of fellowship we have removed its spiritual significance in showing our personal interest in the individual, and our care and compassion for the lost as fellow human beings. It sometimes seems as if we have invented a “gospel production line” where we seek to get people “saved” but we fail to show care. Even when the city of Jerusalem rejected Him, Jesus still cared and wept for the city. Compassion for others is the key pillar in the mission of the Lord. Normally we would first preach the Word then pray for the sick and finally if we have time we will then have fellowship. Interestingly enough in the economy of Jesus, he expects us to have fellowship, and then to pray for the sick. In other words God expects us to meet the temporal needs of people before we confront them with the spiritual deliverance that they need to experience.

Praying for the sick is something that we neglect to do and in many churches it has been removed from their normal practice. Some churches even say that the age of miracles has passed and was only for the Church in Acts. If Jesus is the unchanging God that he is then it stands to reason that His Word is unchanging and therefore we must still expect God to heal the sick. Finally we are confronted with having to preach the gospel. To my mind this clearly indicates that miracles do not set people free from the bondage of sin. It might correctly be said that even though you have experienced the miracle of healing you could still go to a lost eternity. By meeting the needs of people and them seeing that God cares, you are able to lay the foundation or platform to minister the gospel. The gospel is the heart of our approach to others, yet to preach the gospel without care and compassion is to go completely contrary to the character of God. Let us not water down the Bible, but rather let us endeavour to bring the “full gospel” as found in the Bible.