Last weekend I concluded the Mission Ahead series by making some observations from Luke 10 concerning how Jesus empowered his disciples for mission. Luke alone reports the sending of this large group numbering 72 people. Jesus had previously sent the 12 on a similar mission with similar instructions. Now the group is expanded beyond the 12. It’s encouraging to learn that the mission is not for a select few. If we assume that the 72 does not include the 12 apostles, we can easily calculate that for every “rock star” there were 6 who went in complete and total anonymity. All that we know about the 72 is that they obeyed the call to go.
In what ways did Jesus empower them 2,000 years ago? In what ways does Jesus empower us today?
1. He Gives Abundant Opportunity (Luke 10:1-2)
A recent USA Today article revealed that 14% of our nation considers itself to have no religious preference. The Pew Forum has also projected that in the next 20 years that statistic will increase to 20%. Today’s reality is that if every church of every faith were filled to capacity in every service, there would still be more out of church than in church. We live in a day of abundant opportunity.
How big is the opportunity? The opportunity is so big that before we take our first step on mission we are to pray for more help! Don’t resent the new churches that are being planted. Don’t resent the growth of the churches in the community. According to Jesus and verified by statistics, there’s plenty of opportunity to go around!
2. He Resources the Mission (Luke 10:3-7)
In his pre-mission pep talk, Jesus gave several instructions. He told the disciples to go in pairs, to travel light, and to anticipate indigenous help on the ground. The principle is simple: We must depend on God to resource our mission. God has designed the mission to fail unless he himself comes through!
3. He Provides the Message (Luke 10:8-9)
The missional message of the Kingdom is the whole gospel. This included verbally preaching the kingdom and healing the sick. We share the whole gospel that touches the spiritual and the physical needs of people.
4. He Gives us Perspective on the Mission (Luke 10:10-16)
We are to leave the results to God. Any rejection is a rejection of the kingdom and a rejection of God.
We are not responsible for responses. We are responsible for going. God deals with the responses to his message.
5. He fills us with Joy (Luke 10:17-20)
As the disciples returned from their mission they were filled with joy. Whenever God is glorified the people are filled with joy. Joy is the by-product of God’s glory.