As Jesus prepared to go on a preaching tour, he sent seventy followers out before him. They were sent in both vulnerability and power, and Jesus explained the risks. He spoke honestly of the lambs going out among the wolves and warned that some people would not accept the message that the seventy were bringing.
But Jesus also gave these believers the ability to heal and bring the kingdom near. The instructions he gave were simple: Carry no bags, accept whatever food is given, offer peace, and move on from those who don’t accept the offer. Perhaps it is in the simplicity of lifestyle that the power of offering peace in God’s name is so apparent.
That contrast between simplicity and power makes this passage a good complement to our Hebrew Bible passage for this week. Where healing is done, it does not need to be flashy or hyped. The power of God is available, and the peace of God can be given as a gift to those who are willing.
This humble way of working may seem foreign to our ideas of ministry or of healing. We tend to build big churches and fill our services with many words and loud music. There is nothing wrong in praising God with everything we have. But sometimes what matters more than anything is the gift of presence, of quiet contemplation, of a hand held, and a burden shared. When we humbly offer ourselves as vessels by which God’s will is done, something powerful and lasting happens. May we know vulnerability and power as we continue walking in Christ’s way.
Take a walk today and bless each home or other place you pass. Where do you see signs of the kingdom of heaven brought near? Where do you sense a need for healing?
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures describe what can happen when our own strength fails us. Naaman is a great military commander from Syria, but he has no power to heal himself. The psalmist, traditionally David, has become too comfortable in his prosperity. Both men must humble themselves before they can experience healing and restoration from God. How often do we let our pride stand in the way of our healing? Paul admonishes his readers to carry themselves with humility and to build up one another. What they do will always come back to them; what we sow, we reap. The story in Luke warns against being proud even of the gifts that God gives us. Our greatest joy is not that we can do things for God but that God has already accepted us.
Read 2 Kings 5:1-14. When have God’s instructions been more involved than you expected? How did you respond?
Read Psalm 30. How can you continue to praise God during dark, lonely, and hopeless times?
Read Galatians 6:1-16. When has your faith community struggled with members’ lack of humility? How did you resolve the situation so that you could welcome and nurture new Christians?
Read Luke 10:1-11, 16-20. When have you misconstrued God’s accomplishments as your own successes? How did you refocus your life or ministry on serving God?
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