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. – Luke 10:1
We serve a magnificent God. He is our Creator, Sustainer, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Just, Imminent God. He is transcendent over all. If I were to spend a lifetime trying to find adjectives to do justice to God, well, no matter how many I chose, I’d still not accomplish my task. God is so incredibly awesome. God has revealed Himself in His word. But I still wonder if we fully get the picture of how glorious He is. The closest we can come to identifying God properly is to simply say He is Holy. “Holy” means separate and distinct. When used for God, it means there is none like Him. That’s about as close as we can get.
God is so far above us, so limitless, so Eternal, you’d think He would be aloof from us His creation. You might be tempted to think of God as so transcendent that He is unknowable and unapproachable. In some ways He is, but because this Holy God is also known by His incredible Holy Love, He makes Himself known to us. God is completely just, but He is also full of love and mercy and grace. And because of that He makes Himself known to His creation. That’s why Jesus came. To know God is eternal life (e.g. John 17:3). That’s the whole point of Jesus coming.
So when Jesus came and began His ministry, He chose disciples. Twelve He appointed as Apostles. They would be His leaders. Trained them and taught them and then, He sent them out. The message from their sending is that just as Jesus came to make God known, His disciples are commissioned by Him to do the same. God is too magnificent to not be known.
God makes Himself known in His word (e.g. Exodus 34; Job 38-40; Psalm 103; 112;139; Isaiah 6). God makes Himself known in creation (Psalm 19; Romans 1). And He makes Himself known in Christ (e.g. John 1; Revelation 1). And those who follow Jesus are to do the same. This is true for all those who follow Jesus. “Christian” means little Christ. That name was coined by the people to whom Jesus’ disciples were ministering (cf. Acts 11:26). “Christian” is not a name the disciples tool for themselves as much as it was a name given to them because they were so much like Jesus that they were little Christs.
As Christians or little Christs, the followers of Jesus were given the same mission purpose of Jesus, to make God known. And that is a mission that the Twelve were sent on (Luke 9), and then the seventy were sent on (Luke 10). In fact, that in and of itself is a message for us. God is so magnificent that we should just keep going out and being sent over and over and over again to tell the world of our magnificent Father, Son Jesus, and Holy Spirit.
If you call yourself a “Christian” and have no desire, no passion for the lost, to make Jesus known to those who do not know Him, well, you need to check your spiritual pulse to see if you are spiritually alive. Whenever we step into the world, we should see ourselves not merely as going to work or some other task, we should see ourselves as on a mission. We are on a mission to make Jesus known to this lost world. That’s why in Luke 10 we see disciples sent again. We and all Christians are sent again, and again, and again, and again, we are sent out to make Jesus known.
The Seventy Sent
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.
Why is the sending out of the seventy included here by the Holy Spirit? What do we learn from this sending?
First, “After these things” means that there is a sequence or process of sending out. The events of Luke 9 preceded Luke 10. In other words, Jesus first trained and then sent out Twelve. Jesus began with focusing on a core of disciples. He sent out this inner core first. We aren’t told specifically, but it is very possible that Jesus used the Twelve to help in the discipling of the seventy who would be sent out next. Perhaps Jesus assigned each of the Twelve to five others to share their experience. Then the seventy were subsequently sent out.
Second, “the Lord appointed” is the One who sends these seventy out. Those who are sent out are sent out by Jesus. Jesus chose them and sent them. The implication is that those sent had been trained by Jesus (and perhaps the Twelve as stated above) and that Jesus deemed them to be ready to go out.
The term “appointed” (Greek anadeiknymi) means to exhibit, to indicate, to appoint, to show. This is a word used to describe one appointed to an office, to lift up to be seen. These were sent out to represent Jesus. He felt that these seventy were ready to represent Him. It implies they had been following Jesus and had learned from Him. They had learned enough about Who Jesus was and how Jesus ministered and what His message was that they now could go out and take that ministry and reach others with it.
The disciple is sent out by Jesus and is lifted up as a representative of Jesus. When you are living as a sent-out disciple, representing Jesus, you are going to stick out as different in the world. The word “holy” or “saint” means separate, distinct, different. Christians are “saints” holy ones (e.g. Romans 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1Philippians 1:1). We are different because of Jesus. Our calling makes us different. Serving Jesus, representing Jesus, makes us different. This is a great honor; to represent Jesus. And it is a great responsibility. The only “Jesus” some people will ever know, is the “Jesus” they see in you or the “Jesus” you tell them about.
But this also means that there will be a bullseye on your back. The devil will target you. He will try to discredit you, discourage you, depress you. He will try to tarnish you and ruin your ability to represent Jesus. And he will do this through people. He will insight people to hate you and speak evil about you. He will move people to attack you and blame you and generally push you away. Representing Jesus will result in persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Persecution serves a valuable purpose in the disciple’s life. Persecution serves to make us yearn and hope that much more for heaven. Always remember, this world is not our home. We will be leaving soon when Jesus comes to get us. So let’s commit ourselves to representing Jesus and taking as many lost souls with us when we leave.
How about you, have you been discipled; are you learning; ready to go out to represent Jesus? That is the objective. We do not become Christians to remain silent or private. To be a Christian means literally to be a little Christ. Bound up in the definition of Jesus is the idea of being Jesus to those around us. First, we learn what that means based on God’s word. But at some point, what we learn must be applied.
Third, the sending out of disciples to minister is to be ongoing and perpetual. These are “others also.” The Twelve alone were not entrusted with going out. That the seventy were sent out “also” implies the Twelve may have gone out again with them.
Being sent and going out into the world was to be something that was ongoing, continual. We see this sending throughout the New Testament. Jesus gives us a Great Commission to continue this process of making and sending disciples. It’s not enough to simple be a learner or student of God’s word. At some point what is learned must be applied. The way this application takes place is by answering the sending call of Jesus and applying in life and with real people what we have been taught by the Spirit. How about you, have you answered Jesus’ call to go out, to be sent?
Fourth, the sending out of disciples was in teams of two. It states, “and sent them out two by two.” The Bible says:
- Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 – Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
These verses tell us that “two are better than one.” I believe Jesus may have had these verses in mind when He sent out the seventy. Why are two better than one?
Two can do more work than one (4:9). Two people can do more. Two people can bounce ideas off of each other and more effectively plan.
Two can help each other up if they fall (4:10). Two people can keep each other accountable. Two can keep each other in check. If one does fall, there is a partner to help the fallen up. Two can encourage each other. If a person goes out alone, and falls, there’s no one there to help them up.
Two can help meet each other’s needs (4:11). This is primarily speaking about marriage I believe. But in the military there are times when men are instructed to actually sleep together in cold conditions in order to use body heat to prevent hyperthermia.
Two can present a better defense (4:12a). Two heads are better than one when it comes to defending the gospel at times. What one may forget, another may remember. A good team can work effectively together to defend against the enemy. And two present a more formidable defense against attackers. An attacker may be hesitant to attack two than one who is alone.
Two can strengthen themselves in their relationship with God (4:12b). As two draw closer to God, they draw closer to each other. That is true in marriage. And that is true in ministry teams.
Being sent out in teams of two also serves to build bonds of friendship. This is important as we see the importance of friends as stated in scripture:
- Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, a brother is born for adversity.
- Proverbs 18:24b – But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
- Proverbs 27:6 – Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
- Proverbs 27:9 – Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
- Proverbs 27:17 – AS iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
No doubt either those sent out were friends or would become friends as a result of being sent out by Jesus together. Doing ministry together bonds people together. When we are involved together in ministry such in evangelism, outreaches, Vacation Bible School, hospital visitation, nursing home visitation, home visitation, etc. these things bring us together in friendship and as the family of God. This was a part of why Jesus sent out the seventy, two-by-two.
Fifth, the sending out of the seventy was into places “where He Himself was about to go.” Like John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus (cf. Luke 3:1-22), these seventy were sent out “into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.” They too were sent to prepare the way for Jesus. Below we see what Jesus sent them out to do, but the premise for sending the seventy was to prepare the way for Jesus.
This is our mission purpose too. We aren’t to go out to bring the focus on ourselves and how great we can minister. We are to go out and prepare people to receive Jesus. Always the focus of our sending is to prepare people to be introduced to Jesus.
Now what follows are the specifics of the training instructions given by Jesus to these seventy. And we too should take Jesus instructions her to heart as we are sent out by Him.
2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few;
First, we are to go out with a sense of the greatness of the harvest. The harvest or those who need to hear the gospel and come to Jesus is immense. This is a great task ahead of us. It was great when Jesus first sent out the seventy. It remains great.
The Joshua Project provides the following figures about just how great the harvest remains:
“Has Everyone Heard?
While the Gospel has gone to every political country in the world, when Jesus commanded His followers to “make disciples of all the nations” in Matthew 28:18-20, He was not referring to political nations such as Canada, Kenya, Russia, etc. Many of these, such as the United States, did not exist as entities when Jesus gave the command. The word Jesus used for nations in Greek is “ethne” from which we get the English word “ethnic”. “Ethne” can simply mean any non-Jew i.e. Gentile or it can mean a collection of individuals with a common identity. For a good study on this, click here. In the Great Commission Jesus commanded His followers to make disciples from every ethnic people group. This makes a dramatic difference when considering the scope of the Great Commission. . .. Current data suggests there are about 17,400 distinct people groups when country boundaries are considered. (Joshua Project)
So how many of the approximately 17,400 ethnic people groups are considered unreached i.e. less than 2% Christ-follower and less than 5% Christian Adherent? The latest estimates suggest that over 7,400 people groups are considered unreached. That means over 40% of the world’s people groups have no indigenous community of believing Christians able to evangelize the rest of their people group. Over 42% of the world’s population live in these over 7,400 people groups.
Here are some sobering facts about just the 50 largest unreached people groups:
- All 50 of these people groups have less than 2% Christ-followers.
- Individuals in these groups may have very limited, if any, access to the Gospel.
- These 50 unreached people groups are comprised of 1.48 billion souls.
- One in five people on earth live in these 50 unreached people groups.
- Every group is larger than 10,000,000 in population.
- None have an indigenous church capable of taking the Gospel to the entire group.
- Primary religion: 23 are Muslim, 18 Hindu, 6 Buddhist, 2 Ethnic Religions, 1 non-Religious.
- 44 of these 50 unreached people groups are in the 10/40 Window, 47 are in sensitive countries.
- For every dollar of Christian resources less than one penny is directed at reaching unreached peoples.
It is important to note that this does not mean every individual within an unreached people group has never heard of Jesus or understood the message of salvation. There is often a small percentage (less than 2%) Christ-followers in these groups, but the vast majority of the group has minimal, if any, exposure to the person of Jesus Christ and the Good News of God’s free gift of salvation.
For arguments sake, suppose for every true believer there are ten who have heard of Jesus but not embraced Him. That would mean that in an unreached people group 20% had heard of Jesus and 80% had not. In other words, possibly 4 out of 5 individuals in an unreached people group are totally unaware of the Messiah. . . .
It is a great injustice to think that 2000 years after Jesus gave the Great Commission that many people groups have no witness in their midst. To say that a people group is unengaged means there are definitely no missionaries, in all likelihood no outreach, no church or fellowship of believers, no Christian materials, and few if any Bibles in these people groups.
While it is certainly possible the Lord has supernaturally appeared to and been at work among an unengaged group without outside involvement, this would not be the typical way He has ordained for the spread of the Gospel. He commanded the Church to go. There are millions of individuals in these unengaged people groups that have never heard of Jesus or His work of redemption.
Bible Translation Need – To make, not just a convert, but a disciple of Jesus requires the Scriptures to be available in the mother tongue. Wycliffe Bible Translators reports that approximately 1,700 to 1,800 languages have definite translation need. That means for mother-tongue speakers of those 1,700 to 1,800 languages no Scripture exists at all. They may have limited access to the Scriptures in trade or major languages, but no access in their heart language. Of course the languages with the larger number of speakers have been translated but even many millions do not have the Scriptures in their mother-tongue.
Limited Access – Even if the Scriptures are translated and news media available, an estimated 1 billion adults are considered illiterate. . .. 60% of the world’s population is considered oral learners meaning their preferred learning mode is oral, not written. Some estimates suggest that up to 70% of the unreached peoples of the world are oral-preferenced communicators. For those that are either illiterate or oral learners, newspapers, books, printed matter, internet text, even a physical Bible will have minimal impact.
As of 2020 about 65% of the world’s population has internet access. Therefore, about one out of three people in the world do not have online access to spiritual information and the message of the Messiah. The situation is worse in areas where the Gospel has least spread. For example, internet penetration is limited in rural parts of Asia and Africa. The 10/40 Window region, where most unreached peoples reside, has some of the lowest internet penetration. These regions are also some of the poorest, thus further limiting internet usage even where it is available. (http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm)
Limited Contact – A recent study sought to determine the level of contact between Christians and non-Christians. Here are some of the staggering findings:
- Only about 10% of Muslims in Asia personally know a Christian, whereas about 70% of Muslims in North America know a Christian.
- Possibly only about 15% of all Muslims worldwide personally know a Christian.
- Asia is the most isolated continent with less than 20% of the more than 4.5 billion people claiming to know a Christian.
- 81% of all Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists do not know a Christian. (Lausanne Pulse / World Christian Encyclopedia / Todd Johnson)
The Great Imbalance – In the parable of the Lost Sheep the shepherd leaves the 99 and seeks out the one. He uses all his resources to find the lost. It seems we may have the priority backwards with the vast majority of Christian resources being used to tend the flock and few being used to seek the lost. Approximately 90% of all missionaries work among already reached people groups. For every dollar of Christian resources less than one penny is directed at reaching unreached people groups. (Joshua Project) . . . .
After describing numerous advances of the Gospel, Operation World states “The sobering fact is that, even with all this activity, probably 24-27% of the world’s population have not had the good news presented to them in a way they could appreciate and meaningfully respond to.” (Operation World p. 10). That translates to very close to two billion individuals, one in four individuals, without any knowledge of the Savior! . . . .”
Indeed, as Jesus said, “The harvest truly is great”!
Second, we are to go out with a sense of the great need for laborers to harvest. As the above article states there is a lot of work to be done if we are to reach the billions who remain lost and who have yet to significantly been given opportunity to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Couple those figures of those who have yet to be given ample opportunity to respond to the gospel with the fact that, according to the World Death Clock:
- 56 million people die per year
- 4,679,452 people die per month
- 153,424,70 people die per day
- 6,392.70 people die per hour
- 60 people die per minute
- 80 people die per second 
How many of those die without having been given ample opportunity to respond to the gospel? How many go off into a Christ-less eternity? How many go to hell for eternity? If the present world population is 7.8 billion,  and approximately 2 billion people remain unreached with the gospel, that means nearly one in four of those who die, die without Jesus; they are destined for an eternity in hell. Think about that. Sobering.
Years ago, at a Moody Bible Institute Missionary conference a large TRAFFIC SIGNAL was hooked up with lights that flashed:
- AMBER LIGHT – Flashed every 35 hours to signify a missionary being sent out.
- GREEN LIGHT – Flashed every 24 hours to signify $.02 cents spent on missions in this country.
- RED LIGHT – Flashed three times every two seconds to signify a person dying without Christ.
Yes, the harvest is great, and the workers are few, so what should we do? Jesus tells us.
therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
Third, we are to go out praying. Jesus tells us to pray “the Lord of the harvest” sends out “laborers into His harvest.” Now notice, the harvest is “His harvest.” God created all of these people and God desires all of them to repent and be saved (e.g. 1 timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). Pray for God to equip you to go out and harvest souls. Pray for God to equip others to go out and save souls. Pray for those who accept Jesus as Savior to be discipled and reproduce themselves with more saved souls. Pray and do whatever the Lord directs you to do to save souls, e.g. contribute monetary support, get involved as the Spirit leads you to in reaching the lost around you and throughout the world. 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.
Fourth, we are to go out understanding that we are not predators but sacrificial lambs. We aren’t to go out as wolves looking to prey on people. Some preach a “gospel” of self-enrichment at the expense of others. But as Jesus told the Twelve earlier, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). We go out depending on God for protection. We go out to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others. We don’t go out looking to “get.” We go our looking to “give.” We go out as “prophet,” preparing the way for people to be introduced to Jesus. We don’t go out to “profit” off of people.
In light of this passage and Jesus words to the seventy sent, it’s obscene to see what some have turned the gospel and Christianity into. Contrast these words of Jesus with those who insist they “need” their own jets to fly from place to place to “minister.” Contrast this passage with those who enrich themselves in multiple multimillion-dollar homes. It’s obscene. And the only thing worse is that those, with such great access to the word of God in our time, are duped into supporting such charlatans. Yes, its obscene.
4 Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.
Fifth, we are to go out depending on Jesus to supply our physical needs. Jesus said don’t take a bag of money. He said don’t even take a knapsack of stuff or even more than the shoes on your feet. And He said “greet no one along the road.” In other words, don’t get sidetracked with small talk along the way. No, go and trust God to supply your physical needs. Where God guides, God provides. That is a motto of a disciple.
Again, we should not use ministry for personal enrichment. It’s not about us. It’s not about getting attention. It’s not about being the center of attention. It’s not about drawing people to ourselves. It’s not about accolades at the “best” evangelist or minister. It’s about Jesus. When you answer the call of Jesus and are sent, check your ego and flesh at the door and then go.
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.
Sixth, we are to go out receiving from those Jesus gives us favor with. Jesus says specifically, “Do not go from house to house.” Stay in one house. Don’t move from house to house based on a better house opportunity. Go and say, “Peace to this house.” If the inhabitants receive you, stay there. If they don’t receive you, move on. But remain in the house that receives you. Don’t be looking for a better deal. Minister to those who have opened their door to you. It is God who has put it on their heart to open their door to you. Stay there.
Having said all of the above, there needs to be balance too. Don’t feel guilty about them supporting you. “For a laborer is worthy of his wages.” God will support you through giving you favor with people. Just don’t’ take advantage of people’s generosity.
Jesus said to “eat such things as are set before you.” They would be traveling in unkosher territories and the food offered may not be kosher. Jesus is telling them to simply receive what is offered. Don’t let food separate you from those you seek to minister to.
9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Seventh, we are to go out with the same two-pronged mission; heal the sick and preach the kingdom of God. This is the same basic mission purpose of Jesus given to the Twelve. We too are to share the message of God’s kingdom and heal those who need healing.
The kingdom of God is wherever God is reigning. That is the simple message. What does that look like? Well, we could go back to the Sermon on the Plain recorded earlier in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 6). But when we examine the New Testament we see other working parts of this kingdom and the Gospel. Let’s pause a moment to consider this Gospel.
A Gospel Invitation
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” – Ephesians 1:7
Do you feel the Lord tugging at your heart? He loves you so much. He wants you to know Him personally. He wants you to spend eternity with Him. He has a plan for your life. He has truth for you to live by; fulfillment; meaning; purpose. He wants to bless you with an abundant life. He’s calling you to Himself.
But there’s a problem – sin. Sin is breaking God’s life-giving laws. It’s living outside the parameters of His life-giving word. Sin is rebellion against God. Sin separates us from God. Sin is the cause of all pain and suffering in this world. Sin breaks our heart. Sin breaks God’s heart.
God is a Just Judge who cannot and will not leave the injustice of sin unpunished. The penalty for sin is death. We all have sinned. We are all guilty. We all deserve eternal death. We deserve eternal separation from the God of love. We are born in sin. Sin is a part of us. We choose sin. We excuse sin. We are without excuse. Sin is the human infection. Sin is a cancer. One sin cell left unattended will spread and kill. It is always malignant. It is never benign. Sin is terminal. Sin dooms us legally, morally, and physically. But there is hope.
The Gospel is where the One Holy God of Love and the Holy God of Justice meet. There is a way to be justified; to be brought to a standing before God just as if I’d never sinned. There is a way to be forgiven for our sins. There is a way to be healed; to have our sins washed away. That way leads to the cross where God reveals His justice and His love. Jesus is the way, the truth, the life. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
Sin is not eliminated by our good works. Our works are not good enough. Even an earthly judge won’t accept good works to offset the penalty for a crime. The next time you go before an earthly judge for a traffic ticket or some other offense try telling him what a good person you are or that you’re really, really sorry. See how far that gets you. Been there; done that. Take it from me, it doesn’t affect justice; it doesn’t get you very far.
God’s law and rule of justice are far higher and fairer than ours. God must and will administer perfect justice. In God’s system of justice we’re guilty as charged. But God has made a way for us to be set free from the penalty of sin. The sentence can be lifted; commuted. Jesus satisfied God’s just requirements on the cross. He fulfilled our sentence. That’s love. That’s mercy. That’s grace; God’s righteousness at Christ’s expense.
To bring us to Himself God sent His only Son Jesus, the Perfect representative Man, to pay our penalty for sin on the cross. He paid a debt He didn’t owe for those who owed a debt they couldn’t pay. That’s love. That’s justice. That’s grace; God’s redemption at Christ’s expense.
The wages of sin is death. Cancer needs to be surgically removed. It needs treatment. Jesus came to die for you and for me. The blood of Jesus washes away our sin. Jesus’ blood kills sin cells. The blood of Jesus is the perfect treatment for sin. That’s love. That’s healing. That’s grace; God’s remission at Christ’s expense.
What does all this cost? The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. He has paid the price. He offers salvation from sin as a free gift to be received by faith. Salvation from sin is free, but it wasn’t cheap. It cost Jesus His life. That’s love. That’s expensive. That’s grace; God’s riches at Christ’s expense.
Jesus has justly paid our penalty for sin. But how can that apply to us? Trust in Jesus’ completed work on the cross. Turn from your sin and ask God’s forgiveness based on trusting in Jesus as your Savior from sin. How do I know this is true? Jesus rose from the dead. The wages of sin have been paid. Death is defeated. Eternal life is proclaimed in His name. That’s love. That’s regeneration. That’s grace; God’s resurrection at Christ’s expense.
When you give your heart and life to Jesus He gives you rich blessings. He gives you a fresh start in life. He removes the guilt connected with sin. He gives you a new heart that is sensitive to His voice. He makes you a part of His eternal family. He gives you His word the Bible to nourish you spiritually. And He gives you spiritual life and understanding by the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell in you. But best of all He gives you Himself. He brings you into an eternal life with Him. When you accept Jesus as Savior and Lord your entire outlook on life’s meaning and purpose will change. You will be so blessed by His love you’ll want to tell the world about it. That’s love. That’s life. That’s grace; God’s reconciliation at Christ’s expense.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Don’t wait to receive Him. Don’t put Him off. Don’t put off your decision. Come as you are. Come now. He’s waiting for you with open arms. That’s love. That’s opportunity. That’s grace; God’s relationship at Christ’s expense. That is the gospel. Have you experienced it? Have you received it? Have you shared it with others?
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 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.
Eighth, we are to go out with not only a positive message but share the consequences of rejecting the message of Jesus. Jesus instructed the disciples to respond a very specific way toward those who rejected them and the message He gave them to share. The phrase, “The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you” is a Jewish idiom. The idiom was a rabbinic tradition used mostly against the Gentiles. It was a sign of rejection and worthlessness. It was a sign of not wanting to be defiled. When the disciples did this because of rejection by a Jewish city, it was a statement that the Jews were acting no better than godless Gentiles. This was a sever reproof for sure!
Now notice too that the emphasis here is to be faithful not successful. The responsibility is to share the message and offer to minister to people. We are to be faithful in making that holy offer to people. But the fruitfulness of what we do is something that is the Lord’s responsibility. It is His harvest. God causes the growth. “So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7). If people reject the gospel, we need to move on.
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.
Ninth, we are to go out realizing that the only acceptable response is repentance from sin and belief in Jesus. Jesus speaks of repentance. Repentance (“repented” – Greek metanoeo) means to change one’s mind. Repentance is both confession and forsaking sin. That is something we do humbly before God when we accept Jesus as Savior. We humbly confess and forsake our sins before God. We trust in Jesus as the just basis for God’s forgiveness of our sins (Isaiah 53; Romans 3:21-28).
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.”
Tenth, we go out sharing the reality of a consequence for rejecting us because we represent Jesus. Jesus instructed His disciples to speak of “judgment.” We should speak of the final judgment (e.g. Revelation 20). Each person will face judgment upon their death (Hebrews 9:27). And because we are sent out by Jesus as His representatives, those who reject us reject Jesus. And those who reject Jesus reject “Him who sent Me.” This is a great responsibility. This means we minister seriously. This is not a mission to be done half-heartedly. We to out representing Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords. We are His messengers. We are conduits between God and people with a message of eternal significance.
No middle ground. There is no middle ground here according to Jesus words. Either you receive Jesus or you reject Jesus. Indecision is decision. That has to be communicated to those we contact with the gospel.
Let’s pause for a moment to pray. The first part of this prayer is for those who have yet to receive Jesus as Savior. The second part is for direction from Jesus in how He would have us serve Him.
Father, I come to You in Jesus’ name. I admit my sin and ask Your forgiveness for them. I ask Your forgiveness not based on any effort or good works of my own. I ask Your forgiveness because I believe Jesus died on the cross to pay my penalty of sin. I accept Him as my Savior from sin. I believe He rose from the dead. Please forgive me for my sins and give me spiritual life. Holy Spirit, indwell me. Help me to live with Jesus as my Lord. Help me to follow Jesus in whatever He allows in my life, in whatever He directs me to do. Help me to be what I need to be, to do what You call me to do, for Your glory, until Jesus returns. Please show me what You would have me to do, and please empower me to faithfully serve You for the rest of my life. Please use me to make Yourself known to those who do not know you. Please use me to bring glory to Your mighty name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
God bless you as you experience new life in Christ and answer His call in that life.