Sunday, February 24, 2013

Luke 10 - Ambassadors, Neighbors, and Worshipers

LINK: Luke 10


Warren Wiersbe asserts that the "three scenes in Luke 10 illustrate the threefold ministry of every Christian believer, and answer the question, "What  in the world does a Christian do" (The Bible Exposition Commentary, Luke 10). I couldn't agree more. These three scenes illustrate we are all the Lord's ambassadors, neighbors, and worshipers. I have structured Luke 10 according to Wiersbe's headings. 

130. Jesus sends out 72 messengers: Luke 10:1-16

Ambassadors: Representing the Lord in the Harvest

These instructions are similar to those given in Event #93 (Luke 9:1-6; Matthew 10:1-15; Mark 6:7-13), but this passage includes an anonymous group of disciples sent into Judea and not the 12 Apostles sent into Galilee.

Jesus sent them out (the Greek word apostellō means "sent away") two by two as His ambassadors. Different from Luke 9, these pairs went to every city and place where Jesus would be going, preparing the way for Him. He asked them to pray for more workers to prepare the way for Him (just as we can be doing now) by proclaiming that "The kingdom of God has come near you." In the midst of this, they would be persecuted (Luke 10:3) and they needed to travel light (10:4). 

I will talk more about the "man of peace" in the reflection section.

He sent "woes" (judgment) for Korazin/Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. All three of these towns had been witnesses to His miracles in His early ministry. They would be more harshly judged than pagan towns who had not had the benefit of miracles!

131. The 72 messengers return: Luke 10:17-24

They came back having seen many things happen, and Jesus saw the big picture of the overthrow and defeat of Satan. We can put on the full armor against the enemy now (Ephesians 6:10-17). 

Jesus told them that the fact that their names were written in the book of life in heaven was more important than all the victories that they experienced as ambassadors (Revelations 20:12-15).

132. Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan: Luke 10:25-37

Neighbors: Imitating the Lord on the Highway

An expert in the Law wanted to test Jesus by asking him what needed to be done to inherit eternal life. Again, Jesus answered with a question. The Law said it was all about loving God and loving others.  The lawyer's response of "Who is my neighbor?" was a debate tactic that basically said, "Define your terms!"  This way, he avoided looking at his own heart.

Jesus used the parable of the Good Samaritan to "define" who is our neighbor, and He used a man from a race despised by the Jews, a Samaritan, to help a Jew when two religious Jews ignored him!

The Law required mercy and love to all (Exodus 23:4-5, Leviticus 19:33-34; Micah 6:8), and this, no doubt, convicted all who listened. 

Read the results of the Good Samaritan Experiment HERE. Note the people who were making haste to deliver a message about the Good Samaritan! I would be disgusted, but I am not so sure I would not do the same thing being that I am pretty goal-oriented. How convicting!

133. Jesus visits Mary and Martha: Luke 10:38-42

Worshipers: Listening to the Lord in the Home of our Hearts

This is the key to being an ambassador and neighbor: Love, compassion, and mercy flow out of a love for God. 

Martha complained that Mary was not helping her, but Jesus told her that Mary had chosen the one needful thing. I do not think this is a knock to Martha because if service isn't flowing out of worship then it isn't true worship!

I love this stanza from a Charles Wesley hymn that says it best:
Faithful to my Lord's commands, 
I still would choose the better part; 
Service with careful Martha's hands,
And loving Mary's heart. 
It is all about balance isn't it? 


The Man of Peace Principle

Jesus talked about the "man of peace" in Luke 10:6 when he sent out the 72 and a "worthy" man when he sent out the 12 (Matthew 10:11).  This principle is being applied in the world, and the fruit is amazing. 

Here are some principles about the person of peace:
• A person of peace can be a man, woman, young person or child who is willing to listen to Christ’s disciples. 
• A person of peace is the individual whom God has prepared to welcome the disciples when Christ is about to visit a community. 
• A person of peace is hospitable. 
• A person of peace is usually someone who is known in the community and has influence. 
• The person of peace is an insider who opens the door to the sent one in a given community. 
• If a person of peace is not found, the ones sent out should not share the Gospel in that community. The implication is that Christ is not yet to visit that community. 
• Once a person of peace is found, the ones sent out need to demonstrate the Gospel both in words and deeds in the context of relationships. 
• A person of peace is someone who is “worthy” of receiving the Gospel. I do not know how many times I have cheapened the Gospel by begging people to receive it when they were not ‘worthy’ of it. They felt they were doing God and me a favor by listening.
How can we find the person of peace in a community? Now that we know what we are looking for, we need to:
• Pray to the Lord for the man of peace to be discovered in a particular region.
• Serve a community in need so that the person of peace has a chance to be manifested.
• Search for this worthy person by meeting new people in a community
• If a person of peace is not found, we must go somewhere else.
The concept of the person of peace calls us to depend fully on God; trusting that He has already been working in a community and has prepared the soil for the workers to plant His precious seed. By following this principle we are delivered from sterile evangelistic efforts which consume unnecessary energy and resources. Finding the man of peace is a proven successful church planting strategy given to us by Jesus himself and followed by the early church. Discovering the man of peace is looking for God’s fingerprints in a community. Where God is working is where we need to be!
(From CPM Journal, January - March 2006, p. 51-52) 
 A nice acronym for remembering what to look for in a person of peace is WOOL: 
Welcomes (often feeding) 
Opens up their 
Oikos (the Greek word for family/network/group) 
Listens to the message  
1) Become an ambassador by praying for a "person of peace" (POP) to pop out at you and begin investing in them! 
2) Become a good neighbor by praying for opportunities to be a Good Samaritan! Participate in "Pay It Forward" in April.  
3) Before you do either of these, become a worshiper and sit at His feet to listen to what you should do next!

Lord, help us first to be worshipers who sit at your feet. May that overflow into our service in our neighborhood and work in the world. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. 
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