Missiological passages of scripture that I’m working through:
This Passage is often used as a template or model for missions. The concept of the “Person of Peace” comes directly from Jesus’ commission of these 72 disciples. The passage is full of wisdom and truth for all believers on mission, but we need to remember that the context of this passage is a specific historical event (mission trip) with a beginning and end.
v.1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go…”
Unlike us, these disciples went ahead of Jesus. This verse stands in contrast to Matthew 28, where Jesus says, “I am with you always.” I also think it’s important that Jesus sent people to places where He was “about to go.” While I believe that God was in Western Europe before we arrived, we have certainly seen Him work in the lives of the people around us just after our arrival.
v.2 “He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
For my thoughts on this verse, see my post, Workers.
v.4 “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.”
I’m not sure how this instruction to “travel light” applies to those of us who feel led to plant our lives in the mission field indefinately. Perhaps just that we shouldn’t ever get too comfortable on this earth?
I also wonder about the second half of this verse. It seems to contrary to the common wisdom that warns us to take every opportunity. What about the person I sit next to on the plane on my way to the field? It goes to stress the fact that we need to depend on the Holy Spirit even for guidance as to with whom we should share the gospel.
v.5-6 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you.
In our experience, God has been faithful to bring us to the Person of Peace even though we haven’t gone hunting for him/her. I think this verse speaks to the relational context of the good news; a personal connection with an unbeliever is a good sign that God is at work.
v.7-9 “Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’”
What constitutes a welcome? As I mentioned above, I think that friendship is the welcome we should be looking for.
v.10-11 “But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’”
When is it time to leave? In my posts Front Burner and Back Burner, I talk about the idea of relational ministry “dead ends,” and the desire of some to pursue especially (only?) relationships with those people who are responsive to the Good News. I believe that there are people who can drag us down and hinder our ministries, but I think these verses are talking about those times when we have no personal connection with the people to whom we are sent.
v.16 “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
I’ve heard lots of missionaries use this verse as an excuse for social rejection by a host culture. Usually, I want to say, “No, they aren’t rejecting you because they are rejecting the Gospel, they are rejecting you because you: a) are a proud, condescending, know-it-all stuck in American culture, b) not sharing the gospel, or c) a big dork.
v.22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
That pesky predestination keeps coming up…
v.23-24 “Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
Please see my post, Passion.