19. Who is Jesus?
December 26th, 2010
Changing the World
Today we continue our study through Luke’s gospel asking the question: who is Jesus. We are in Luke 10:1 where Jesus sends out seventy-two disciples to the towns and villages of Judea. This sending is very similar to the sending out of the twelve that we saw in chapter nine. Which sort of makes you wonder why this is here? When Jesus life has so many incredible stories that it would be impossible to tell them all why does Luke take the time to tell us two stories that are so similar?
This is around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles; one of the three great Jewish feasts of the year. For the six months prior to this text Jesus had been very secretive. He avoided crowds and even traveled to Caesarea Philippi which was well into Gentile territory for awhile. In his absence from the spotlight His popularity had diminished. They have those shows: where are they now specials for celebrities who disappear from the spotlight for a while. This is the where is He now: Messiah episode where the former star Jesus begins regaining His popularity.
Lk 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. Lk 10:2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
Sometimes how we do church is very selfish. Community is one of the core needs of man. We are incomplete without it. If we are not in regular relationships with other Godly people then we cannot grow or mature the way we should. Often times church becomes the place where we go to get our needs met. We are looking for a place that has classes, programs, music, and sermons that are what we want. We look at churches for what they offer us. But if that is all we do, if we just go to church then we are selfish.
We like the community but we don’t always want to serve or give to help it grow. We let what we want supersede what Jesus wants. One of the major reasons the church exists is to bring people into a relationship with Jesus. Part of our job is to bring people who don’t know Jesus to a relationship with Him. If that is not happening then we are failing in our role as a church. Just going to church is selfish, going out and being the church to others molds us to look morel like Jesus.
Church is not about us. It is about Jesus. It’s not about what we want. It is about what He wants. His desire is for us to reach out and to love people who do not know Him. Jesus is radically inclusive. He wants everyone to be a part of what He is doing. As His church our role is to help make that happen. We bring people to Jesus so more people can experience His love and salvation in their lives. We teach Jesus so people can grow in their relationship with Him and become more productive in the work they do for His kingdom.
The purpose of the church is to love Jesus, and to share His love with the world. It is not enough for us to just gather together with other people who love Jesus and talk about how great He is. We need that, but that is only half the battle. We need to reach out to others and tell them about how great Jesus is as well. We meet inside the four walls of the church to prepare ourselves to take Jesus love outside of those walls.
The church is not meant to be inward focused but outwardly focused. We receive the love of Jesus so we can share it with as many people as possible. The heart of the community of the church should beat for those who are outside its walls and who do not know Jesus. Jesus will model this attitude for us; where He sends out seventy-two disciples.
Jesus is an ambassador sent from God. He brings with Him the love and the life of God. He spends time with people loving them and teaching them how to love. Then He sends those people out to share the love of God with the world as well. Jesus calls them in, equips them, and sends them out. Our faith is not complete until we are sent out to the world to share the love of God.
Here Jesus sends out seventy-two disciples to go prepare the way for His arrival in the different towns and villages of Judea. These guys are sent out to serve, heal, preach, and share the love of God.
Lk 10:3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Lk 10:4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. Lk 10:5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ Lk 10:6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Lk 10:7 Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. Lk 10:8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Lk 10:9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ Lk 10:10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, Lk 10:11 ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ Lk 10:12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
The seventy two were sent out, like the twelve were in chapter nine, in pairs. This is a good model to follow. If you want be effective in serving and sharing Jesus love don’t do it alone, take someone with you. Theses guys are sent out to prepare the way for Jesus arrival. Before they go He gives them some valuable instructions. They are to graciously accept hospitality without taking advantage of it. They are to bless those who receive them and to curse those who reject them. They are granted supernatural power, just as the twelve had been, to heal and to cast out demons. They are given this power to give authority to their message which is to announce the coming of the kingdom of God.
They are told to pack light and move quickly. Time is of the essence and they have a lot more area to cover. Their mission is so urgent Jesus tells they don’t even have time to greet people they pass by on the road. In Galilee we saw Jesus sending out the twelve. Now He is doing the same thing with the seventy-two in Judea. They also have less time. There are only two months between the feast of Tabernacles and the feast of Dedication. This is all the time Jesus has to complete His work in Judea. So it is very important that they move quickly if they are going to get everything in place.
The seventy-two are to heal the sick and to tell them the kingdom of God is near. How do we know the kingdom of God is near? Because the sick are being made well. The mark of the coming of the kingdom of God is the removal of sickness and sin from the people. When we see the consequences of sin being replaced with the blessings of God what that should tell us is that the kingdom of God is near.
Lk 10:13 “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. Lk 10:14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. Lk 10:15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. Lk 10:16 “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The message here is unmistakable. If God had performed His miracles among pagans they would have repented and followed Him, but His own people who should have been awaiting His return and realized who Jesus was, reject Him even with all the signs and miracles surrounding Him. It’s like if you broke your leg and your mom said I don’t care enough about you to take you the hospital. Then a total stranger seeing your injury drove you there themselves and stayed with you to make sure you recovered. That should bring shame to your mother that a stranger was taking better care of you than she was. The same is true here: pagans, who are strangers to God, accepting Jesus should shame the Jews, who were God’s chosen people, for rejecting Him.
Lk 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Lk 10:18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Lk 10:19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. Lk 10:20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
The returning disciples are overjoyed. They got to experience the power of God working through them for the benefit of others. They got see with their own eyes the joy that healing brought to people’s faces. For a moment they got to see the world through the eyes of God.
For my birthday my wife organized a little surprise party with some friends to play laser tag. We divided up into teams and went out play. When we got done we all got scores printed out detailing how well did. We sat around for a long time laughing and talking about our experiences. We were just reflecting over the great time we had. That is what the disciples are doing here. They are sitting around with Jesus laughing and sharing their ‘war stories.’
The work they did was so effective that Jesus saw Satan falling like lightning. This could mean several things. Satan fell and it was fast. Or his fall was awesome. Or it could mean it was seen all over the place. A good thunderstorm can been seen for miles from anywhere you are. The disciples all went out to different towns and villages where Satan had strongholds. When they did the work of God Satan’s grip on each of those places was torn away and he fell and it could be seen all over the place.
When we share the love of Jesus with people we are actually combating the devil. Our love is our weapon against the hatred and destruction of our enemy. When we love people we cut away the snares they has trapped them with. Now just imagine if we went out to the city of Joplin in pairs just once a week and shared Jesus love with people. Imagine Jesus sitting there watching Satan fall from all over this city as we shared His love with those who didn’t know Him.
What if our Sunday morning services were just gatherings where we could share our ‘war stories’ from the last week. Imagine this service is not just about sitting and listening, but that it was about sharing what God had been doing through us and the amazing things we got to see all week long.
The question is why does Luke tell us two stories so similar when there is so much other material about Jesus he could have used? The answer: because Jesus loves lost people. We read over this and go: yea, yea didn’t we just read that a few sections ago? Luke is saying is that the lost are so important to the heart of God that we need this again. The mission of the church is not to have good music. This mission of the church is not to put on the best programs. The mission of the church is to share the love of Jesus with people who do not know Him. We exist and were made to be loved by God and to share that love with others.
The disciples were excited because miracles were done through them. Jesus says these things are neat, but they fail in comparison to salvation. Our true joy should be in something more significant, and that is that our names are known by God. Salvation is far greater thing to rejoice in than any gift or miracle God may do through us. We ought rejoice for ourselves and labor for those who do not have it. Jesus loves the lost and His heart beats for them. When we bring lost people to Him then Jesus rejoices. You can bring joy to the heart of God when you share His love with others.