Fourth Sunday after Pentecost | July 7, 2019
10 The Lord now chose seventy-two 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.
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.
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.’ 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!’
Luke 10:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT)
In today’s passage in Luke, we find Jesus sending out his disciples. We often think of just the twelve disciples that are commonly mentioned, but here we get a glimpse that there were more…there are at least 72. Jesus sends them out in pairs. These disciples that go out are to go find more workers for Jesus’ harvest fields – they are to make more disciples. One of the things that I love about the Wesleyan Church is our emphasis on discipleship – celebrating every time a disciple makes a disciple and the church multiplies itself until the Wesleyan Church has a transforming presence in every zip code. This is exactly what Jesus was sending out his disciples to do. They were to go and make disciples so that the transforming presence of Jesus would be felt far and wide – in Galilee – in Jerusalem – in Judea – in Samaria – and all the places beyond.
He tells these disciples that they are not to take extras – and find a place to stay a while – not move around. We have learned that you can’t really have a transforming presence if you are not willing to stick around. Even though the church doesn’t really exist yet, It feels to me that Jesus is starting – even before the Gospel is complete – a house church system – a micro-congregation system. In reality Jesus was starting the first multi-site. There job was to make disciples – so that they could make disciples.
Interestingly enough, he tells them to stay only where they are welcome. If a town or village doesn’t want them, they should shake off the dust from their feet and move on. But Jesus reminds them sternly – “Know this – the Kingdom of God is near!” We are called to preach and teach the Good News of the Kingdom and to make disciples – so that they can make disciples – so there can be a transforming presence in every nook and cranny of this earth!