The manual for 72 (12 * 6 = 72)
Reading: Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20
Additional readings: Luke 9:51-62, Luke 14: 15-24
Blanks: two by two, Go, Peace, Heal, submit, rejoice
We heard this before:
From the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus focused on training 12 students.
After they grew to be his disciples, Jesus gave them power to heal the sick and cast our demons.
Then Jesus sent them two by two to teach other people.
And they were able to do what Jesus asked.
They learned what was like to live Jesus.
Then Jesus trained more people.
Since his 12 apostles were also able to help him now, it became easier.
Because of his first 12, Jesus took a lesser time to train new students.
Jesus could train more people and chose 72 students out of them.
It was 6 times more than the previous 12: (12 * 6 = 72)
Jesus empowered 72 students and got them ready to live his life.
Then Jesus sent them off two by two to proclaim God’s peace.
But do you think that it was easy to be part of the 72?
Do you think that it was easy to be trained by Jesus?
Well, I am not sure whether I could be in these 72.
Because the teacher Jesus was traveling all the time.
Jesus slept outside and lived like a homeless when he found no place to stay.
And his students were supposed to stay with Jesus.
So, just like me, some of his students seemed to want to go home and relax awhile.
They might have wanted some comfort of their home.
So, they asked:
“Jesus, can I go home?
I need to take care of something at home.
After that, I will be right back.” (smile)
But, about this time, Jesus said something like this:
“Yo! My life is about to be over very soon.
So, I need to teach you how to live my life.
Don’t look back, because you just started to work with me.”
When Jesus chose right persons, Jesus encouraged them to commit themselves to follow him.
Then, Jesus trained them until they were ready.
Then out of seventy-two, Jesus made 36 individual groups.
Then Jesus sent them, two by two.
But before they go out, Jesus gave this guideline for the 72:
Jesus said something like this:
“I have spread my seeds.
Now you are harvesters!
But we need more harvesters.
So, pray that God send more harvesters.
That is your job as harvesters as well.
As you go out, pray that we have more harvesters working with us.
“You are going out to share God’s peace.
I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
So, be like lambs.
Be humble and patient.
Then even some of the wolves will turn into lambs like you.
I will be with you in this journey of faith.
“Don’t take any money with you.
Don’t take any bag.
Don’t take any extra pair of shoes.
Because in this evangelical journey, you are not supposed to give money to people.
You are not supposed to share anything else but my power.
Only thing that you can give people is what I give to you.
For this journey, if you need anything, I will provide.
I will provide what you need as well: all the necessary stuff.
You will also meet generous people."
This is a different kinds of mission.
This is a mission with God’s power.
No earthly power is needed or used.
They receive the power of God and use it.
There are other times when we use our money.
We may use what we have.
We we may send money to support various mission project.
We may send money to the poor.
But in this evangelistic mission, we don’t use money.
We don’t use what's in our bag.
In fact, we don’t bring our bag.
We use the power that we receive from Jesus Christ.
And we heal like Jesus and proclaim the kingdom of God.
“Don’t greet anyone on the road.
Don’t waste your time like that.
Instead, go straight to their home.
‘Peace be with you.’
If they receive your blessing, if they welcome you, the peace will stay with them.
So stay there.
Eat what is offered to you.
But don’t go from house to house.
Instead, stay there, heal the sick and say that the Kingdom of God is very close, as Jesus is very close.”
The method of Jesus is to send two persons into various homes.
Jesus wants something beautiful happen in their homes.
So Jesus sends two persons to proclaim God’s peace in their homes.
Two persons are supposed to help that family.
Two persons are called to serve each family.
“But if they don’t welcome you and don’t receive your blessing, the blessing will return to you.
Take it back and get out.
If the whole town doesn’t welcome you, then go into its streets and say:
‘The only thing we got from you is the dust on our feet.
We are giving it back.
But understand this:
You were very close to the kingdom of God.
But you missed it.
Jesus was very close.
But you missed it.’”
Then Jesus said:
“Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever listens to me, listens to God who sent me.”
The students of Jesus were imperfect and immature people.
They were having problems among themselves.
They were still struggling because of other person’s sinful behavior.
But Jesus gave them power and said:
“Whoever listens to you listens to me.”
I wonder whether Jesus gave too much power to them.
They were human students.
But Jesus trusts that it would go well.
They would say right things as the Holy Spirit is with them.
Jesus was willing to give his power to them.
It was ok that they were not perfect.
God can still work through them.
Jesus trusts that God can use them to do a good job.
God’s power would work through them to do what God wanted to do.
Jesus might have loved to see their process of growing.
As for his students, it was a good chance to practice what Jesus taught.
In this way, they understood how Jesus was ministering to people.
It was a good chance to learn how to minister like Jesus.
Then, they came back, rejoicing.
They were like:
“Lord Jesus, even the demons obey us when we use your name!”
They were able to talk about Jesus in his power.
They could live like Jesus and act like Jesus.
Then they understood how Jesus was moving in the power of Holy Spirit.
They understood how to visit other people in God’s power.
Then what did Jesus say?
Jesus was like:
I have given you power over the demons.
So, nothing will harm you.
But, do not rejoice because demons obey you.
What you need to rejoice is that your names are written in the book of life.
Rejoice that you are God’s people now.
Then you will be able to continually work with God forever.”
Jesus may help us grow spiritually and get us ready to be his harvesters, like his 72.
Jesus may send some of us two by two.
Jesus may ask us to visit various homes.
But some of us may not be ready or not wish to be part of these 72.
We may say we may have another plan to do another ministry.
We may want to support those 72.
We may want to send money to those 72.
We may want to use our gifts and talents to help them.
Or we may say that we need to grow spiritually.
Or we may want to pray for those 72 harvesters.
Well, yes at least it is good that we pray for them and bless them.
Jesus may ask us to pray that they may experience God's mercy.
As we pray for them, we may learn something more of Jesus.
I understand that some of us may not want to go.
We may say that we want to welcome people into our home instead.
But then Jesus may ask some of us to go and visit another family.
Jesus may send us to obey, and visit someone’s home in Jesus’ name and do the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Jesus may send us to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God.
In this way, we may learn together to live like Jesus.
Some of us may help people like this, and find joy.
We may learn to explain and understand who Jesus is.
As we share the story of Jesus, we may learn to live like Jesus.
We may learn how the Holy Spirit may use us.
We may learn how the Holy Spirit may speak among us.
We may be surprised by what we may learn.
We may sense the presence of God with us.
As we go in Jesus’ name, we may learn what no other person could teach us.
As we go in Jesus’ name, we may learn how Jesus may use two of us to problem the gospel.
This could be our first hand experience.
I think I am learning more and more about Jesus because I am a pastor.
I learn more and more because I have to preach.
Sometimes, I sense that God guides me and teaches me and gives something to say, because I am a pastor.
So I learn how the Holy Spirit may work through us.
I sense the presence of God.
So I learn about how the presence of God could heal and make us whole.
Or we may learn our spiritual condition.
Wesley also learned about the presence of God after finishing his first mission trip.
He learned how weak he was.
He learned how much more there is with God.
As we go in Jesus’ name, we may learn more.
Jesus may be happy to see us grow in this.
We may learn what is like to work with God.
We learn what kind of God we serve.
We learn more and more to be a friend of God.
What would happen when two of us visit various homes?
People may sense the presence of God.
They may have a chance to welcome the presence of Jesus.
Then in his presence, they may hear what God wants them to hear.
God may help them to have God’s peace in their home.
Jesus may give us words to say.
Then they may experience the mind of Jesus.
We may also feel the presence of God there.
We may learn to be used by God in his the presence.
We may learn to speak in Jesus’ name.
We may know what to say, how to say and when to say.
If in that home, there was someone who struggled feeling guilt even after confessing their sins, Jesus may guide us to say:
“God has forgiven you.
God is merciful to you.”
In the depths of their heart, they may also hear Jesus says:
“I have came to let you know that you are forgiven.
Welcome me into family life.”
Then they may live a new life in God free from sin.
In some homes, we may be guided to listen to them.
As they share their stories, we may learn how to pray for them.
As they share their stories, God may help them to think better.
Then they may learn to think better.
When we face someone who suffer with an anger problem, we may know how to help them in the name of Jesus.
As the Holy Spirit helps us, we may understand and speak right words.
The Holy Spirit will guide to be in the right place at the right time.
The Holy Spirit would lead us to do and speak his words.
It cannot go wrong.
Trusting this, we may go into their homes.
So Jesus may send some of us to go and visit various homes.
Jesus sends us to be with them so that together we may experience his presence.
Jesus sends us to experience God’s grace there.
Doing so, we may become like Jesus.
In this way we may learn to trust Jesus.
In this way we may learn to minister with Jesus.
In this way, we may learn what Jesus is trying to do today.
Jesus, help us to learn your way.
Help us to live in the way that you guide us.
May the presence of God stay with us and move with us. May God give us his presence wherever we go.
In Jesus name, we pray.