July 9, 2019
Scripture Luke 10:1-11
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way.
“Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”
Luke 10:1-3a, 8-9 NRSV
Jesus commissioned seventy newly minted representatives of his ministry as harbingers: proclaimers of the Good News that Jesus brings. They are continuing the role of John the Baptist from the earlier portion of the Gospel story, telling others that Jesus has come and that the kingdom of God is not only near, but has arrived! We get no details on the these 70 individuals, but apparently they have been tied closely to Jesus and the Twelve Disciples. And, we have to assume that they learned a great deal in that time; because, Jesus had enough confidence in them to send them out on their own.
Jesus introduced their mission with words of the prophets which meant that great changes were at hand, and that the people of Israel would be gathered together, as well. So, right away there is urgency and deep meaning in this mission. This intentional calling on villages and homes likely was the key to the spread of the Gospel as Jesus and his followers were making their way to Jerusalem. And, Jesus most go there to enact the final portion of his ministry: to face his arrest, trial, death, and glorious resurrection.
The Seventy tell the villages and people that they encounter that the kingdom of God is the new reality, perhaps similar in scope to the “New Normal,” which we hear about today. But, more importantly it is salvation, healing from within: It results in a new outlook on the world and on our own lives and becomes part of our living. Just as we see it today, Jesus knew that the disciples would meet resistance and rejection. Regardless, he told the disciples to persevere: to shake their dust from their feet. “Stay with it,” he says. “This is the best work that they could possibly do for Christ and for the Kingdom of God.”
So, today where do you and I find ourselves in relation to God’s kingdom? Do we proclaim the kingdom in our actions, our choices, our greetings for friend and stranger, our love for others? Do we have the faith to go out and offer Christ’s peace and to proclaim that the Kingdom of God has come through our thoughts, our words, and our living?
Jesus disrupted the norm of his day. His words indicate it, and his actions demonstrated it. No less is expected from each one of us. Look to God for the strength, courage, and continuing support to help right the wrongs we see, to oppose injustice, and to work for peace in this: