September 17th, 2019
The challenges we face if we are faithful to the instruction given us by our Lord and master, are insurmountable within ourselves. We are dependent on His strength and power, in addition to His grace to carry us through.
The enemy roams about just as a hungry lion seeking his prey and what he prefers for his snack is the heart of any believer in the saving blood of Jesus Christ.
But we are given a mission that cannot be denied. We are charged with spreading the good news to the utter most parts of the world. A daunting task if we had all of the resources to accomplish it, but there is no time to contemplate what we don’t have. What we do have is the commandment to go and make disciples of every nation.
After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others, and he sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.
Luke 10:1-2 (CSB)
Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly how Jesus went about choosing these 72 witnesses. Given the number, I would have to guess that it was about all he could lay hands on within His humanly powers to secure that many able-bodied volunteers. But then, who is to say that they were volunteers, or even able-bodied for that matter.
No, the more typical thing that Jesus would have done is to tell someone they were going to be his witness, despite their impairment to do so. Then through their enablement by His strength and providence, they were emboldened to the task and away they went.
I can amuse myself easily, considering the interchange that took place for this one, then those over there, follow by these two here; all the while some of those who realized what Jesus was up to, may have slunk off to hide, because hanging with this awesome teacher was one thing, but putting one’s own skin in the game was an entirely different matter.
Jesus wasn’t reserved about telling them what they were up against. Moving ahead in this passage we read…
“Now go; I’m sending you out like lambs among wolves. Don’t carry a money-bag, traveling bag, or sandals; don’t greet anyone along the road.”
Luke 10:3-4 (CSB)
These teams were sitting ducks! Point blank the Lord was saying to them, “listen, you are all sheep among wolves.” Perhaps he told them that some of them may not make it back from their assigned mission. This is only the account of one Apostle who may or may not have heard every detail Jesus was conveying to every person.
I don’t perceive Jesus presenting a cattle call and then signing up 72 willing participants, Jesus was commonly much more personal than that. In my thinking, it is more likely that Jesus place hand on shoulder of each of these men and spoke to them as individuals or small groups, outlining both risk and reward for what he proposed.
Further this dispatch had an urgency to it. They each were instructed not to take a bunch of things that would burden them down, don’t talk to anyone along the way to your assigned post, get there and do what I ask of you!
They all went out, did as instructed, then you’ll notice something, when they ALL returned (so much for unprotected sheep!).
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Look, I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing at all will harm you. However, don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:17-20 (CSB)
The report was phenomenal! Those sent out, had returned with story after story of miraculous happenings and God working through the power of Jesus name.
The tone of these four last verses we are sharing today, suggest that these disciples of Jesus were elated at what they had been used to accomplish in the name of their Lord.
Jesus played this down as he reflected on his personal witness to the ejection of Satan from heaven, then explained to them, despite all the power and authority He’s place in us, we mustn’t lose sight of what was more miraculous; our names are written down in heaven.
We have membership. We’ve been adopted into God’s family and as sons and daughters of the King, we have had our names etched in the Lambs Book of Life. This should excite us beyond all else.
We are impotent before the force we face. Satan is no match for God, but we are no match for him either. If we enter into combat with him on our own, we are going to lose and lose in an ugly way.
No matter, because we are ‘more than conquerors’ through Jesus Christ OUR Lord. In our weakness His power is manifested, making us sheep that can send the wolves fleeing if we only resist the devil.
We are “Sheep Among Wolves”, but that doesn’t mean we are hopelessly out matched. Through Christ Jesus we have the power to send the wolves packing!
In His Grace!