Last Sunday we talked about discipleship in the context of Jesus sending forth seventy “others.” (Luke 10: 1-20) Who exactly were these others? I suggested on Sunday that maybe they were specially trained ninja type disciples ready to strike with the Gospel message that the Kingdom of God was near. The must have had extreme abilities to face down doubters, skeptics, naysayers, and people that would persecute them. They surely were incredibly articulate, able to “win” any and all theological arguments. The seventy had to be gifted beyond ordinary people, for they were walking with God incarnate, Jesus the Christ. On the other hand maybe the seventy were none of these things.
When we look at the people that God has chosen to lead we find an unlikely lot. Starting as far back as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, and David, God has called unlikely people to lead and minister to people. Often we use the false idea that Biblical leaders, including the seventy others, were somehow special, more gifted, and above reproach as an excuse to not do as we feel led. We believe that since we are not specially gifted, like they were, we must not be called to do anything great for the Kingdom of God.
Our excuse falls apart when we realize that Adam and Eve were disobedient and disloyal (The topic of a different future post), Abraham tried ways to further God’s plan on his own, Moses had a speech impediment, and David murdered. When we look at the seventy others we find that they were no more or less special than any of us. They had the same gifts, guidance, abilities, charms, and grace that are available to people today. Through God’s grace they went forth following God as best they could. They focused on the other; healing and witnessing to God. They took a brave step, trusted in God, and did the work that needed to be done, announcing that the Kingdom of God was near.
Who are these seventy others? Seventy is ten times the perfect number of seven. I believe that the writer of Luke used the term seventy to indicate lots and lots of people. So the seventy were lots and lots of people called by Jesus to do the work of God in a broken, lost, and hurting world. The seventy had the experience of God working in their hearts and lives and they knew that when God begins working in your heart your heart gets filled with love. This makes me think…
Have you had the experience of God in Three Persons working in your heart and life? Have you felt the love of God filling your heart? Do we live in a broken, lost and hurting world? Imagine what would happen if we allowed the love that God is pouring into us to overflow and spill out onto the people around us. Imagine the lost, the broken, and the downhearted receiving love from God through us! You see if you answered yes to the previous questions you are part of the seventy being sent out to the world. We are called to be the Body of Christ. This is an exciting and thrilling call. For in being the Body of Christ we are given the opportunity to go forth and touch people in Jesus’ most Holy Name.
This is this pastor’s opinion. What’s yours?