SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
Passage: Luke 10:1-16
The Seventy Sent Out
“ 10 After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. 2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. 5 But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. 7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. 8 Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. 9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘The very dust of your city which clings to us[b] we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the Kingdom of God has come near you.’ 12 But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city.
Woe to the Impenitent Cities
13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades. 16 He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
Memory Verse: Matthew 28:19 (NLT).
“THEREFORE, GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT”
In previous editions of Spiritual Nourishment for Today we learnt a lot about Jesus’ sending out of the seventy-two followers according to Luke 10:1-6. I have gained lots of insights about missions through the series and I believe you did as well. If you missed it, please make some time to read ‘Called and Sent Out’ Parts 1-9. In this edition we want to look at what happened between Jesus and his disciples immediately the disciples returned from their mission. This edition is intended to show that salvation is more important than power and authority. This lesson is deduced from Jesus’ response to the disciples’ reportage. Let us now delve into Luke 10:17-21. The key verse is Luke 10:20 which reads:
“HOWEVER, DO NOT REJOICE THAT SPIRITS SUBMIT TO YOU, BUT REJOICE THAT YOUR NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN HEAVEN” (NIV).
Immediately after the mission the disciples returned to the Master who sent them. It shows a sense of responsibility on the part of the disciples towards the one who sent them. They showed that after every mission it is important for us to give account of our missionary endeavors and possibly evaluate the work done. Knowing that we have to be accountable to our churches or mission agencies which send us will also encourage us to focus on the mission, do what is expected of us and avoid anything which will bring shame to the name of the LORD. Anyone who is sent by the Master should see himself or herself as an ambassador of Christ and represent him well so that he or she can give proper account to the Master when he returns in his glory. This applies to every aspect of the believer’s life. All believers should know that we have been sent into this world on a mission and the One who sent us will soon require us to give accounts of our mission. What report are you going to give him when He calls you?
The disciples returned in joy because they had had a successful mission. It looks as if the disciples achieved far more than what they expected or better still were surprised at what they had been able to achieve. So in their report to the Master they said in joy:
“LORD, EVEN THE DEMONS OBEY US WHEN WE USE YOUR NAME!” Luke 10:17c, NLT.
There is nothing wrong with what the disciples told the Master on their return. In fact it is true that they drove out demons and healed many sick people and that excited them so much . They were happy to share their experiences with the Master. The Master was also happy with the report he received because they obeyed him and therefore became successful. The success chalked by the disciples is a clear indication that the success of our ministries depends on our obedience and faith in the one who called us, saved us and sent us. If we fail to obey what the Master has commanded us to do we cannot be assured of any success or perhaps the success we may achieve may be only temporary. It is not surprising that many who take the Lord out of their ministries may be able to perform several miracles and pull large crowds but last shortly. If you cut yourself from the Master, your future will be bleak. The disciples succeeded because they remained connected to the Master.
However, the Master was unhappy that the disciples did not set their priorities right. Yes, he was happy at their success but listening to them and observing them Jesus realized the disciples were more excited about the power and authority they exercised over demons. He saw that the disciples were not thinking much about the fact that their names were written in the Book of heaven. Jesus saw the danger in being much more interested in having power and authority over evil spirits than having their names written in the Book of heaven. He therefore reminded the disciples to set their priorities right by focusing much more on having their names written in the Book of Heaven than having power and authority over demons. He quickly compared what the disciples thought to what brought Satan’s downfall. Jesus envisaged that the attitude which was being developed by the disciples could lead to pride and arrogance and consequently bring their ministries down sooner than expected. This piece of advice from the Master must be taken seriously by all believers, especially those given specific tasks by the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is sad to know that many people who started with the Lord ended up dancing with the devil because they diverted their attentions from being saved to the quest for power, authority, money and fame. Sometimes after the LORD has used some people to accomplish great tasks they drew attention to themselves and not to the One who granted them the power. Some Christians are now becoming more interested in how to obtain power to perform miracles for all to see how ‘anointed’ they are. Yes it is very good to demonstrate the power of Jesus for the world to see and probably come to him but our priority MUST always be on how we can have our names written in the Book of Heaven. If we focus our attention on how to become powerful in order to gain fame, money and authority, we may lose focus on our salvation. I wish to encourage all believers that no matter how greatly the LORD uses us, we must always have our eyes on having our names written in the Book of Heaven and not on the power! Let us value salvation more than power and authority!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.