Intro: I didn’t always operate “above board” and spent time fearing the authorities. They represented something greater…
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. 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. 3 Go!
He sent them to the places he was about to go…
Why does he do this?
He sends them out then commands them…
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
He sends the 72, then tells them to ask Him to send others.
They would partially be the answer to their own prayer
The command: Ask & Go!
2. Often people are the answer to their prayers
Ever been asked, “We need a Sunday school teacher. Would you pray that we will find one?” Then going to God, I am prompted to volunteer.
I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
“…like lambs among wolves…”
The sheep/shepherd analogy
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…”
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
This is a picture of total reliance on Jesus
…to the minister of the gospel.
“What is good about being poor? Nothing, except that it offers us the possibility of giving leadership by allowing ourselves to be led. We will become dependent on the positive or negative responses of those to who we go and thus be truly led to where the Spirit of Jesus wants to lead us. Wealth and riches prevent us from truly discerning the way of Jesus.”
~ Henri Nouwen
Up to God to supply the right people, the food, protection from the (enemy)
3. The faith journey enlists the miraculous
Then what does he tell them?
tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Miraculous provision is given for the advance of the kingdom of God.
10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
Why don’t we see many tangible miracles today?
Maybe it shows our level of belief.
Miracles are meant to speak to the heart.
4. Repentance is the point of the miraculous
Example: In India, whole villages are saved through a single healing.
God opening a door that no earthly hand could open.
Healing a relationship that was broken for years.
Miracles are God’s kindness to us.
Nothing can soften a hard heart like a kind act, a healing, hospitality, etc.
‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens?
No, you will go down to Hades.
16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
5. Miracles are not wasted on the hard-hearted.
Miracles were performed anyway, even as a testimony against their unbelief.
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said,
“Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Why aren’t miracles are not wasted on the hard-hearted?
6. The miraculous can become the idolatrous
Remember 4. Repentance is the point of the miraculous
He reminds them that he has seen the chief of all demons submit to him but he remained humble.
Power is intoxicating.
“Guess what, Lord! We have power! Things submit to us!”
We might not raise a dead person up out of the casket…
But most of us pray daily… for this and against that.
Are we given supernatural power?
The Bible suggests we are.
“…the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Can we say without a doubt that our prayer caused something to happen?
“The impossibility of empirical proof is a spiritual necessity. A man who knew empirically that an event had been caused by his prayer would feel like a magician. His head would turn and his heart would be corrupted. The Christian is not to ask whether this or that event happened because of a prayer. He is rather to believe that all events without exception are answers to prayer in the sense that whether they are grantings or refusals, The prayers of all concerned and their needs have been taken into account.
All prayers are heard, though not all prayers are granted.”
~ C.S. Lewis
We would be in the same danger of the 72 focussing on personal power instead of bringing the kingdom of God to earth.
(Review) 6. The miraculous can become the idolatrous
21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said,
“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
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.”
23 Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 24 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.”
Revealed to children has to do with total dependance on God.
Alex and Melina’s DTS
7. The True Miracle is a personal revelation of Jesus