Summary: Today we’re going to see what kind of person Jesus sees as a superhero, and it certainly isn’t what most of the world would expect.
The Avengers is the top grossing movie of the summer, and Batman and Spiderman are always incredibly popular, though engineering students at a University in England determined that even if Batman could fly, due to the size of his cape he would crash and probably be killed or severely injured when he landed.
Our culture loves its superheroes whatever the reason. But when we get home from the theatre we are still left with our life and no Batman or Spiderman to take care of our personal or societal problems. The truth is, many would put their faith in a fictional superhero before they would put their faith in a real superhero, named Jesus Christ. But today we’re going to see what kind of person Jesus sees as a superhero, and it certainly isn’t what most of the world would expect.
Luke chapter 10 is very interesting because it has three scenes that illustrate the threefold ministry of every Christian. In the first 24 verses we are Christ’s ambassadors in the harvest field, spreading the Good News representing God. In our parable today we are neighbours showing mercy and God’s love to people in the name of Christ – imitating Jesus. And in the last 4 verses of the chapter we are worshippers who take time to listen to Him, commune with Him, and surrender to Him.
Last week we finished with the parable of the sower in chapter 8 of Luke. Today I want to quickly set up what is going on before we move into our parable today. Between last week’s parable and today’s, we see Jesus perform several miracles, some healings and calming the storm on the sea.
Then in chapter 9 the first thing we see is Jesus sending out the twelve disciples to do the same, spread the word and heal people. This is a great example of how Jesus discipled people. He teaches them, spends time with them and demonstrates what to do. Then he sends them out. Take note of verses 1 and 2 of chapter 9.
“He called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases”. Whose power is it? Jesus. “And he sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal”. He gives them power, and he tells them to do two things, proclaim the gospel and heal people.
Then as chapter 9 began with Jesus sending people out, chapter ten does as well, this time 72 people. And look at how he refers back to the theme of the last parable again in verse 2 saying, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.”
He says to these 72 labourers to pray for more labourers. Notice these are not spectators that are to pray to send out more labourers. Maybe too often we pray for someone else to be the labourers because we’re not willing, when God wants to use us.
Just a little note here. The first time he sends out 12 which represents the spreading of the gospel to the Jews, the 12 tribes of Jacob. The second time he sends out 72 or 70 depending on the translation, which represents all the nations as listed in Genesis 10. The point being that Jesus wants the gospel spread first to the Jew and then the Gentile, all nations. Again the seed is to be spread everywhere. And whether Jew or Gentile, if they refuse to welcome the gospel, they are to be left to the coming judgment. Our job is only to bring the gospel to people, spread the seed, the fruit is up to God.
The 70 or 72 go out healing and proclaiming the gospel and they come back having had great success. Notice in these two commissions that Jesus gives, he empowers and commands them to both spread the word and heal the sick. Notice in our great commission the healing ministry is not mentioned. The spiritual healing is more important than physical healing.
Continuing in chapter 10 now, Jesus gives glory to the Father for the success of the 72, but there’s a sceptic in the crowd who barges in and wants to test Jesus. This just comes out of nowhere and the guy asks Jesus, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus throws the question back at him knowing this is another test based on the law in Deuteronomy, pointing the lawyer right back to their law of works. And the lawyer completely traps himself without knowing it. Jesus even asks how do you interpret the greatest commandment?
Love, plain and simple. Love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and oh oh, love your neighbour as yourself. Jesus says “yep you got it, go do it”. Yes you are to obey the commands of God, but not out of religious duty, but love. And you can’t just get away with loving God because that’s easy to do in private your own way. You are also to show God’s love by loving others. But the guy comes back with, “who is my neighbour?” See what he’s doing? “Surely that just means people who are like me, who are lovable right”.