"Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house."
Have you ever embarked on a journey or started in on a project you knew wasn’t going to be easy but knew it would be worth it? That’s right where these 72 disciples were. They were about to go on a great adventure to tell people about God’s Kingdom and heal all kinds of people but it wasn’t going to be easy. As Jesus said, they were lambs being sent out into the wilderness were there were going to be wolves. Intimidating and scary, but so worth it.
It is often easier for us to focus on the scary – but for just a minute focus on the rest of what Jesus told them. Yes, there would be wolves, but there would also be these people that Jesus referred to as “men of peace.” These were people the disciples would want to hang out with, people they could find safety with, and people that would show them hospitality. So, who are these people and how do we find them?
This is the only place were they are mentioned specifically. Based on what we know about them here Matthew Henry (a great commentator on the Bible) describes them as people who’s hearts have been made soft as wax and are ready to receive the impressions of God’s grace. They are ready for God to do a work in them and then to carry that work on to others.
We see a couple instances of these people in Scripture. One was an adulterous woman who gave Jesus some water and the other was a demon possessed man who told every about the healing power of Christ. These are people that come from all walks of life and who have allowed God to fill them with His grace which always brings about transformation.
Today, we can focus on the wolves or we can focus on peace and the people that are living in it. I don’t know about you, but people of peace sound better than wolves. Take a minute today to allow the grace of God to do a work of transformation in you. Maybe you can become a person of peace today.
The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields…. Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’
Luke 10:1-2, 9
This past fall my kids and I were driving past a field that had been growing what we assumed to be some kind of zucchini or squash. For months we had been watching it grow and wondering what it was. Then, one day, two buses showed up full of people ready to go work in the field and pick whatever it was. It was a lot of people out there working. I think of this when I read this verse – sending workers into the field when the harvest is ripe.
I also think of the scenes from Kentucky just a month or so ago when they were devastated by storms and tornadoes. Hundreds of people showed up to search for people and to do everything they could to save lives. People were found, rescued, and saved. Recently I started to think about this scene when I read this passage.
We often read this story of the sending of the 72 as a call to share the Gospel – a call to do Kingdom Work. But, let’s read this from a little different perspective, what does this verse say about God? It tells me He is sending people on a search and rescue mission and He is looking for more help. It tells me God cares for us so much He is not willing to leave us stuck in the rubble and brokenness around us. He doesn’t want us to stay in the sin and darkness. He is coming for us and recruiting as many people as possible to come do the work.
Jesus sent 72 people to about 25 different places (assuming they only went to the places Jesus visited) and He still told them to look for more. He told them to enter these places and to heal their sick (save them) and tell about the Kingdom of God (offer them hope). That sounds a bit more like search and rescue and not just pick the fruit.
I am thankful that God cares about me that much that He is willing to send a rescue team out into the darkness to find me. He doesn’t want to lose me. He doesn't want to lose you. He has sent a team, Jesus being the head, to search for you and to rescue you. I am thankful for His mission and the miraculous saves that happen every day!
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.