In Luke 10:1-12 we see Jesus sending out 72 people on a short-term evangelism mission.
Jesus’ direction was from the north, heading to the south. He had just passed by Samaria. His overall direction was Jerusalem and he was headed there to die.
So, if he is heading south to die, what is with this mission?
Jesus is bringing the kingdom of God to the people. He came to seek and save the lost and this mission is simply part of this broader mission. Along the way, he gives his followers some helpful direction on how to conduct their work.
First, the need is great but only a few workers are active. They are to go out with very few resources. This forces them to rely upon the Father, not upon their own abilities. Furthermore, they look for persons of peace (POP). The POP are individuals who are receptive to the gospel. Should the evangelists find no receptivity in a town, they move on to other towns.
The principles Jesus lays out here are critical for our missiology. We look for people who are responsive to the gospel. When there is receptivity, we continue to invest and work. Where there is no receptivity, we decline to harden people by relentlessly preaching the gospel. This may sound harsh but this is the methodology of the Master.
Considering this story, we note, almost with peculiarity, the advancement of mission in the face of a larger mission to die. We also note the strategic response of gospel preachers to the receptivity of the gospel. Missiologically speaking, Jesus gives us a template for reaching unreached people groups.
He also gives us help in using discernment. Why bang our heads against a wall of resistance? Why try to, in our own strength, create receptivity to God when we are unable? This is not faithfulness, this is stupidity! Let’s discern people’s response to the gospel and respond accordingly.
Essentially, we work where he works and move on where he moves on.
This message comes from Luke 10:1-12. Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.