Jesus’ ministry on earth expanded as He appointed 72 followers to prepare the path ahead of Him. As we examine Jesus’ instructions to the 72, let’s prayerfully seek His lessons for us today. (Luke 10:1-16)
Welcome to Walking in the Word, the biblical teaching arm of the Women World Leaders podcast. My name is Julie Jenkins, and I’m honored that you have chosen to listen today and pray that as we open God’s Word together, He will infuse you with insight and joy.
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Let’s get to today’s teaching! If you are familiar with this, the Wednesday edition of our podcast, you likely know we are currently walking through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – looking at the life of Jesus chronologically as the Holy Spirit guides us. Today’s reading takes us to the book of Luke, chapter 10, verses 1-16. Before we begin, let’s pray…
Dear Most Holy God – we give you this day and we give you these next few minutes. Father, we ask you to guide us through this teaching that Luke wrote so many years ago. God, we thank you for the education and the divine wisdom you infused into Luke, allowing him to write the words we will study today. We thank you for preserving your Word for us. And we thank you for the translators you spoke to as they carefully put these words into the English language. God, you have already ordained, overseen, and coordinated so much just so we can open our Bibles today and hear from you, and we don’t want to ever take any of that for granted. The least we can do, God, is give you our undivided attention as we study this glorious gift you have provided us. So it is with great expectation and joy that we open your Word, and it is with great confidence and faith that we ask you to speak directly to us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today we move from Jesus’ teaching in Jerusalem to the preparation for His return to His teaching tour, so-to-speak. Yes…Jesus went on a teaching tour. Although God calls us to come to Him, He will go to great lengths to meet US where WE are. I’ve heard it said that if there are 100 steps between you and God, you can count on Him to take 99, but you have to take at least one.
So Jesus was preparing to take the 99 steps toward those who did not come to Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles. But since, as He was fully human, He could only be in one place at one time, He sent a group of His followers before Him to prepare the hearts of those He would meet.
Let’s begin in Luke 10:1 from the New Living Translation…
10 The Lord now chose seventy-two[a] other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. 2 These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. 3 Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road.
Do you see that Jesus is empowering His disciples to walk in their God-given purpose??
I just noted that Jesus was fully human and could only be in one place at one time, and that’s correct. But Jesus was also fully God – and God can do whatever He wants to do! But God CHOSE to use humans – sinful, messed up, unqualified humans – to prepare the way for Jesus to enter the hearts of others.
I don’t know about you – but that makes me feel pretty good! In fact, it kind of makes me awe-struck. It can be easy to think, in our Christian walk, that we are not good enough or qualified enough to serve our almighty God, let alone serve other people! I felt called to be a leader for Christ from the time I was very young. But I grew up the youngest of seven children. And as the youngest of seven children, it can be hard to seen or recognized. My place became hanging out in the background, allowing everyone else to have center stage, because, in my heart of hearts, I felt like I was not as important as everyone else around me. I still carry some of that, but through the years, God has empowered me by assuring me of my importance in His sight, and by reminding me that He created ME on purpose, for a purpose.
Dear Friend! You were created ON PURPOSE for a purpose! And we ALL, as believers in Jesus Christ, have the purpose of sharing the glorious news of Jesus Christ with others! Just yesterday, I was in a meeting with some leaders in our ministry, and one of our leaders said, “I used to be the person that was being led and poured into, and now I find that I am the one leading and pouring into others.”
THAT is what the Christian community is about! It is about rising to our God-given purpose, and then empowering others to rise to theirs.
That is what Jesus was doing – He was elevating those 72 individuals He called to go before Him to share His name. And just listen to the instructions He gave them…
First, Jesus told them where to go and that they wouldn’t be alone. Oh, I don’t mean that God was with them. Of course, He WAS, but Jesus also partnered them up and sent them out two by two! Isn’t that just like God to give us people we can do ministry together with?? If you don’t have someone to work with in ministry in this season of your life, will you ask God to send you someone? And then, will you partner up? That can be the hard part!! Because we are selfish, willful human beings, and sometimes, we would rather work by ourselves. But trust me, we all need someone to hold us up and hold us accountable to all that God has called us to.
So first…Jesus told them where to go and who to go with.
The second instruction was to PRAY for others to join in the work! In ministry, the work sometimes seems to multiply as God brings more and more to do! But God never intended for ANY of us to do it all and certainly not for us to do it alone! His plan is for us to work together. That might mean that YOU, like the leader I mentioned above, will be tasked with leading and encouraging others! Now, that’s exciting!!
Next, Jesus instructed them to expect issues…saying… remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. When we go for God, we should EXPECT opposition. Remember, Satan rules this world, so we are in enemy territory. BUT, God promised HIS provision, saying…
Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road.
In other words, they were to walk in obedience, fully trusting God’s path. And Jesus told them not to greet anyone on the way because their destination was to be their focus. It can be easy, when God calls us on a mission, to get sidetracked.
Let’s read further and see what Jesus’ next instructions to the 72 were…verse 5…
5 “Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ 6 If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. 7 Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.
It is always our responsibility, as Christians, to declare God’s peace over an environment or situation. And we can be assured that if hearts are open to Jesus, the peace will remain and grow. And if the hearts are NOT receptive, the blessing of peace we declare on others will return to us. Isn’t that a freeing thought? We don’t have to force peace on a situation. Ever. We offer it, and if we are turned away, we keep the peace in our own hearts, despite what is going on around us or elsewhere.
Jesus also told the 72 to be patient and stay in one place. They were to not cause confusion in the community but remain where God sends them, accepting His provision.
This is a word for us, of course. We can always trust God’s leading.
Verse 8 continues…
8 “If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you. 9 Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’
The 72 were given God’s power to heal for the same reason Jesus healed – to showcase God’s glory and turn people toward Jesus. Verse 10…
10 But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!’
God stands with open arms – welcoming all to become His children. And He sends those children to proclaim to others that they, too, are being called into the Father’s arms. What a GREAT purpose we all have!!
But not all will listen to God or to us. In fact, MOST will not listen, but it is still our duty to speak! To share what we know. But when we are not welcome, God gives us the permission to walk away…to shake the dust from our feet.
Some people are surrounded by such a thick wall of unbelief and distrust – it’s as if layers have grown up around them. Imagine, if you will, that each Christian who approaches an unbeliever has the power to remove someone’s outer layer of unbelief. If we obediently remove just that top layer in 10,000 people in our lifetime, that’s 10,000 layers! If we all walk in obedience, God will use us ALL to strip off those layers, and together and with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can wear out the devil and destroy his purposes.
And yet…here’s the warning…some will consistently refuse to see the power of Jesus and accept His life-giving salvation. To that, Jesus says, beginning in verse 12…
12 I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on judgment day.
13 “What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. 14 Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you. 15 And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.[b]”
16 Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.”
God is rejected by many. Jesus is rejected by many. So we shouldn’t beat ourselves up when we are rejected just because we bring the message of joy and peace on behalf of Jesus Christ.
I don’t know where God is calling you to walk. I don’t know what enemy territory He is leading you into, but I want to encourage you to stand strong for Him.
Partner up with someone – we’d love to partner with you at Women World Leaders.
Pray that as the work increases, God will send more people to work with you on His behalf.
Walk purposefully and with urgency to your destination, expecting opposition.
Be the first to reach out with the peace of God and remain where God has placed you until He calls you elsewhere.
If His peace is not received, don’t take it personally, but move on, trusting you have made a difference even if you can’t see it.
And finally, showcase God’s glory with whatever gifting God has given you.
Next week, we get to see the return of the 72, and I think you will be amazed. But this week, will you commit to being God’s servant? Will you go where He leads you today? I can assure you if you do, you will have a story to tell as we check back in on the 72 next week!
Dear Most Holy God! Yes…we will go for you!! We will walk obediently and with urgency where you lead us. We will offer others YOUR peace by your power alone. We just need you to show us where to go and how long to remain, and we trust that your power will rain down on us. We give you this week, dear God, and we trust you to go with us always. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.