Summary: Pentecost 7(C) - Jesus sends out his workers into his harvest fields equipped with his powerful word.
JESUS SENDS OUT HIS WORKERS
July 23, 2006 - PENTECOST 7 - Luke 10:1-12; 16-20
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Dear Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
The Lord has called us, and that is why this morning and every Sunday we hear the address: Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord we rejoice. Today, we look at what that calling in our life means. There is quite a change, from darkness into light, from enemies of God to the children of God. Because we are called, we have a great and blessed opportunity to serve. Jesus talks not just about calling but sending out those who are called, those who know the difference between darkness and light, those who have been given eternal salvation--you, me and every believer--the responsibility that the Lord sends us out. Paul expresses this calling and service of believers in Romans when he asks the questions: "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ’How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’" (Romans 10:2,3). Paul says that no one is going to believe unless they hear. No one will hear unless someone is sent to him or her. Faith comes by hearing. As believers we are sent unto the ends of the earth. Paul quotes Isaiah in saying even our feet are beautiful that bring the good news.
Today we look at these words in the gospel of Luke, chapter 10, which reminds us:
THE LORD SENDS OUT HIS WORKERS
I. Into his harvest fields.
II. With his powerful word.
I. THE LORD SENDS OUT WORKERS INTO HIS HARVEST FIELDS
Chapter nine ends up by saying that believers who follow the Lord are going to have to count the cost of following Jesus. There were many who came to him and said they would follow him but did not. Then Jesus says in chapter 10, verse 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." Chapter nine ends up by saying there were many who came, but their heart was not in it. Chapter 10 begins by saying that it is the Lord who calls, and then the Lord appoints these men. The Lord is going to send them out two by two so they can have the encouragement of one another. Even though they are sent out in the name of the Lord, even though they are sent into a great harvest field, that doesn’t mean everyone is happy to see them.
The Lord says: "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." They were going to be in the minority. Those believed in Christ at this time were in the minority. Those who recognized Jesus as the Son of God were in the minority. In our Gospel Lesson we heard how even in his own hometown, Jesus couldn’t do miracles there; because the unbelief was so great. In his hometown belief in Christ was in the minority. So what were they to do? The harvest field is great. Jesus wants them to realize that they aren’t on their own and says to them: "Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." The original has "beseech him" or pray. Jesus tells these men that amidst difficulties they can pray. When they don’t know who is going out into the harvest field, to pray for the workers. Jesus says, "Pray to the Lord of the harvest."
I am guessing they probably prayed right away. They prayed to the Lord, "Send out workers."
We hear in the next verse: "Go! I am sending you." They prayed for workers; and Jesus said to them, "You are my workers." Next Jesus describes the difficulties they are going to face. He says, "I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." This is a very fitting description of believers who go out in meekness and humility as lambs. Our world is filled with wolves waiting to devour and destroy those who are weak and humble. Yet, the task is great. He says the harvest field is large and is ready to be harvested. There is urgency. In verse 4: "Do not take a purse or bag of sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road." He says, "Go, I am sending you right now." They were not to go back and get all the things they would like to take along on the trip. They are not to waste time greeting people on the way. Jesus at once sent them to the towns and places where he would go. They were to prepare the way for him. We may recall John the Baptist who did the same thing. He didn’t preach himself, but preached the coming of Christ. These seventy-two were not to preach themselves, but preach that the kingdom of God is near.