The Faith of the Devout: the Great Commission Lk 10:1-12, 17-20

            As we read and reflect on the Gospel of Luke we are shown how Jesus commissions seventy-two disciples and sends them out in pairs to spread the Word of heaven to the Jews.  Remember, that the Christian Church had not been established and that the Laws of Moses reigned supreme to the Jewish people and extortion, greed, and pride ran rampant among the leaders of the Jewish Temple.  As I look at the leaders of today, it is obvious that power has corrupted mankind for as long as men walked the face of the earth.  

            In Luke 10:1-12, we read: At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.  He said to them, ‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.’”  It becomes apparent that a true revolution of ideas, thought, and faith must begin from the ground up.  As we just reflected upon the American Revolution on July 4th, that established a government unlike any other on earth—a government that established Christianity as the basis of the formation of the new beacon of the world—we realize that the freedom of religion and/or lack of religion was started for the liberty of all citizens.  Our rights have been given by God.  Yes, God has given all mankind the ablility to choose Him and receive eternal life with Him, or choose not and have not.  Ironically, the revolution that changed the face of the earth was started as a grass-roots campaign, not by the early American revolutionaries, by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, but carried out and grew strong by the people, for the people. 

            Jesus appointed seventy-two men to do His will when he told them these strict instructions: ’Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.  Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment.  Do not move about from one house to another.’”

             The thought of leaving with no supplies and just believing that God will take care of you and all their needs, seems to be unthinkable.  What faith these seventy-two men had?  These men were picked by the Son of God for their unquestionable faith, and what a test of their faith it was. Jesus leaves them with a statement, advice, and a promise of His ability to handle the violent objectors.   It struck me as odd,  until I digested the meaning behind it: “’Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand.  I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.’”              Jesus warns, not the seventy-two, but the objectors whose hearts are hardened.  Those who hear the Word and do not accept it shall perish.  The peril that they will suffer will be greater than the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Though this seems harsh, it makes sense.  In Sodom, not just the sins of adultery, but the sins of the unnatural vices of the flesh—sodomy rang out as the angels of God were to be the next victims.  Though, disgusting in thought and practice; the greater sin for those that hear the Word and choose not to accept it.  The men and women of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire from heaven that flattened and burnt all its inhabitants.  The real kicker is that Lot’s wife, who turned back toward Sodom, was also destroyed.  So too, will be those that hear the Word of God and ignore it.  A cruel statement, but who knows better than Jesus the faith needed to get to Heaven?
As the men return from the mission that Jesus has sent them on, Luke 10:17-20 tells us: “The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.  Jesus said, ‘I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.  Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.’”  Once again, Jesus reminds these men that have completed the will of the Son of God to stay focused, for the celebration need not be for domination over the devil, not for making a name for themselves, but rather, that doing the Lord’s work gets you a seat at the right-hand side of God the Father.  So must we—be relentless!!

 

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