FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2018
October 5, 2017
Today’s gospel: Luke 10:1-12
After the Twelve, Jesus “appointed seventy-two others” (v.1a) to do mission. His instructions to them had all the markings of greatness. Now we too are sent by Jesus to proclaim the good news of salvation in him. If we do this work well, in accordance with Jesus’ ways, then we too are destined for greatness. What are the elements of this mission?
One, we are sent as advance party of Jesus. The 72 were “sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.” (v.1b). Imagine that. Like John the Baptist, we help prepare the way for the Lord. Jesus entrusts to us the preparation of the soil that he will be making fertile.
Two, we are among the few laborers who will bring in the harvest. “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few” (v.2a). The harvest is of souls, and Jesus entrusts to us the task of making real in their lives the salvation that he has already won for us all. Because of a lack of laborers, some potential harvest may be lost. But we in effect are the deciding factor on whether someone is saved or lost.
Three, we may be given the privilege to be sacrificial lambs. “Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.” (v.3). Jesus himself was the sacrificial lamb. Wolves devour lambs. Jesus gives us the privilege to be like him, to follow in his footsteps, to embrace his cross. We are to give our all and to offer our lives for the cause.
Four, God will provide for all our needs in this all-important mission. “Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals” (v.4a). To be sent on God’s mission is to be provided for by God Himself. Such provision is often outside the imagination of man, just like the manna that came from heaven in the desert. We are special people doing special work, and so God will provide.
Five, we are agents of peace of the Prince of Peace. “Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’” (v.5). Who can extend peace (shalom) but God alone? Yet we are given the authority, power and privilege to be agents of Christ’s peace for others.
Six, we are to do miraculous deeds that Jesus himself did. We are to “cure the sick” (v.9a). Jesus performed signs and wonders in his ministry. He cured the sick and drove out demons. His disciples were empowered to do the same. We too are empowered.
Seven, we are proclaimers of the Kingdom of God. We are to say to people, “The kingdom of God is at hand for you.” (v.9b). The Kingdom is God’s and only He can pronounce any reality about it. But we are empowered to speak on behalf of God. We are to stand in God’s place and aver the presence of God’s Kingdom in the lives of people.
Eight, our negative pronouncement on those towns that reject the gospel message will have terrible consequences on those towns. “I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.” (v.12). Jesus brings salvation, but rejection of Jesus brings condemnation. Only God can condemn people to the eternal fires of hell. But we are empowered to make such judgments about people’s responses which leads to pronouncements of condemnation.
God is great, Jesus’ mission is great, and those who do such mission, in following the very ways of Jesus, are destined for greatness.
* * *