Monday, December 22, 2014

Sending the Seventy, part 13: The importance of One

But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. (Luke 10:10-12 NAS) 

These few verses contain sobering instructions from Jesus. When the sent-ones entered a town or village, they were to look for a man of peace. When he offered hospitality, they were to stay with him, accepting whatever he could provide. In exchange, they were to offer healing to all who were sick and to tell them the Good News of Jesus. There was the possibility that a town might not receive them. They might not find a man of peace, a warm welcome, or hospitality for their stay. 

Of course, the people didn't know what they were missing. Almighty God in the flesh had sent His personal envoys to give them a message straight from Him. He had sent men who could heal their sicknesses. It was more than anyone could imagine, and there were some who did not give them a second thought. The sent-ones and their message were rejected before they had a chance to deliver it. 

When that happened, they were to go into the center of town and make a proclamation where all could hear. "Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near."

I like to think that it was "one more last chance" but Scripture doesn't say that. What the sent-ones did with their proclamation is tell the people what they were missing. "The Kingdom of God has come near." Then, they were to leave. They were not to labor over-long in a place where hearts were hardened against them. They didn't beg or belabor the point. They left and went to the next destination. 

One man of peace could have made the difference in those towns and villages. One man could have prevented the destruction promised them for refusing Jesus. For some of the towns, there was no man of peace. There was not one person who would be the conduit through which the grace and mercy of God could flow. 

Selah. Pause and consider. 

The difference that one man, completely receptive and open to the work of God, can make is astounding. One man of peace could have opened the door for healing of all the sick in a town or village. One man could have opened the door for the gospel for an entire town. One man. One man or woman just like you or me could have made the way for Christ and blessed their town in ways even they could not imagine, and that is still possible today. We have no understanding of what a difference one person, totally sold out to Jesus Christ, can make, but this passage makes it clear that the difference can be incredibly significant. 

If that is true (and it is), then why aren't we more involved in our communities? Why don't we stand up for truth in a loving, generous way? Why don't we allow our homes to be a welcome respite for others? We have a great opportunity for good, and it is a tragedy to miss it. Dear ones, we must open our hearts and our homes to the work of God. Let Him make a difference through us. 

What does He long to do through you? The walk of faith is a grand adventure. Are you ready? Embrace the adventure!