THE HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL
Jesus appoints seventy-two of his followers to go ahead of him in pairs to every town where he was headed. The harvest was plentiful, and Jesus instructs these laborers to pray and ask God for more laborers to join in the harvest. The Lamb of God sent his followers as lambs in the midst of those who would devour them. Jesus directed his followers not to take very much on the journey and to go in haste and focus on the work at hand. These missionaries were to speak peace over the houses they entered, and the peace would rest on a believer. The seventy-two were to remain in homes where hospitality was afforded and stay there. The people of the kingdom are expected to support the laborers working the harvest. Jesus instructs his disciples not to move around and eat whatever is set before them. They are to authenticate the message of the kingdom by healing the sick. This good work is to be accompanied by the message that the Kingdom of God is near. Rejected Jesus and his gospel brings judgment and death. Jesus knew that some cities would reject his message and his messengers and woe to those cities. Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum had seen first hand the power of God at work in the lives of their citizens and yet they rejected Jesus and his gospel. Jesus spent a lot of time in Capernaum, and they witnessed many miracles including the paralyzed man being healed, and yet the rejected the message of Jesus. When Jesus' followers proclaimed the message of the kingdom, they proclaim the words of God and anyone who rejects Jesus message, rejects him and the on who sent him. The seventy-two return and they are filled with joy. They speak of the power in Jesus' name and explain that even the demons were subject to these missionaries because of the power in Jesus' name. The exorcisms showed the defeat of Satan and the power of Jesus. Jesus gave the disciples the authority by which they overcame the enemy. Jesus refocuses the disciple's attention away from the enemy, and their use as agents of God redirecting them to rejoice over the truth that they belong to the kingdom and their names are written in heaven guaranteeing their hope. Jesus is filled with joy over what had taken place through the ministry of the disciples, and he prays in the Spirit thanking God for his wisdom and understanding. God has worked through these followers who are young in their faith. Those who belong to the kingdom are a gift from the Father to the Son. Jesus then offers a benediction over his disciples because they had been blessed to see the kingdom of God at hand and to see the King at work.
Who Is My Neighbor
A lawyer stands to test Jesus and asks about eternal life. Jesus turns the tables and asks the expert in the law how he reads it. The lawyer answers correctly explaining that loving God and loving neighbor is what must be done. Jesus tells the man to practice these things, and he would live, The man wants to know the limits of this love and asks about his neighbors. Jesus tells a story about a man that travels from Jerusalem to Jericho. Along the way, he ambushed by a group of thieves who beat him stripped him, robbed him, and left him for dead. A priest comes to the place and does not stop; he passes by on the other side. The people wait to see who comes next. A Levite comes to the place, and he just passes by and continues his journey. The people are trying to comprehend the efforts of these religious leaders when Jesus gives the third example. Jesus mentions a Samaritan which would have caused a visceral reaction. The Jews hate the Samaritans, and so Jesus' story took a turn that would bring a strong emotional response. A Samaritan came to the place, saw the man suffering, and acted with great compassion. He descended to the man who was suffering and treated his condition. He took the man to an inn and instructed the innkeeper to care for him, and if he incurred any extra expense, he would reimburse him when he returned. Jesus asks the teacher of the law who proved to be a neighbor and the man answered the one who showed mercy and Jesus told him to do likewise.
One Thing Is Necessary
As Jesus traveled with his disciples, they entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Martha had a sister named Mary who sat at Jesus' feet listening to his teaching. Martha was giving all of her energy and attention to hospitality, and the longer her sister sat, the more resentful she became. She finally reaches a point that she calls out her sister in front of their guests involving Jesus in the matter. She asks if Jesus is aware that Mary is not helping her serve and then asks him to order her to help. Jesus explains that Martha is anxious and troubled while she goes about her many tasks. Jesus tells Martha that only one thing is necessary and Mary is giving herself first to her Lord while being nourished by his words.
Things To Consider:
- Do you see yourself as sent by Jesus? Why or why not?
- Are you a missionary?
- Are you praying that God will send more laborers into the harvest?
- Do you speak peace to people? If so, how? If not, why?
- What sort of judgment should we expect with all the access to God's revelation that we have today?
- Do you have eternal life? How do you know?
- Why do we struggle with our neighbors sometimes?
- Are you too busy for God? Why or why not?
- What is the one thing that is necessary?