Blog for Day 275 Luke 10 -11
October 2, 2021, 8:46 AM

Blog for Day 275 Luke 10 -11

(Note: our glogger was unable to write yesterday and so was I! If/when I am able, I’ll try to update and fill in the days that are missing.)


The very first sermon I ever preached was from this section of Luke. I remember it clearly because I remember what stood out to me on that first anxious experience. My preaching passage was from the beginning of chapter 10, when Jesus sends out the seventy, and it was the first verse of that chapter that stayed with me: “Jesus sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.”

We can learn a lot from this passage. For example, the number 70 is significant. Numbers are almost always significant in the Bible, aren’t they? In this case, the number is larger than the original twelve, which should capture our attention. Jesus had many followers, not just the twelve disciples, and passages such as this one remind us about that. Honestly, do you have 70 people you could send out—or even ask-- to do your  work? Me neither.

We are to recognize the radical dependence that the disciples were to place on God’s providence as they did the work. I mentioned seeing the movie “Eyes of Tammy Faye” last week, and very early in the movie Jim Bakker comes home to his new wife with a brand new, fancy car for them to do their missionary work around the country, a car they could not afford to own. As soon as I saw that car, I felt my stomach clench and I thought, “Oh no. There it is! The beginning of the downfall.” The point is not really about the car at all—it’s about the motivation behind the car—that Jim Bakker was sure that this is how God wanted them to start out. I’m not saying that poverty in life equals spirituality—we have only to look around at our culture to know that. But Jesus was being clear with the 70 that on this mission, they were to be dependent on the people they visited. The homes they entered received the word of God; the missionaries received needed food and shelter. This is how the relationship begins between people and pastors/preachers. This is how the church was built.

So on to that number—seventy. Seventy equals the number of years the Jews were in captivity in Babylon. Seventy also equals the number of elders on the council of the Jews, the Sanhedrin. This group was largely responsible for the campaign against Jesus that led to his death. Most significantly, however, the number seventy equals the number of people in the household of Jacob when he moved his family and servants to Egypt when Joseph was second in command to Pharaoh. These seventy people were the beginning of a great nation, the Israelites or the chosen people. From that seventy, more than two million people later began the trek of the Exodus and the forty year sojourn in the desert.

One astute writer created an equation for us to understand:

12 = the patriarchs of Israel = the disciples/apostles

70 = the people of Israel = the nation of God, or the Church (big ‘C’ because I mean the entire church, not just our little neck of the woods!)

So sending out the seventy had great significance because it symbolized the spread of the church. Remember a few moments ago, when I spoke of the relationship-building that was to take place because of these 70 ambassadors or missionaries? The foundation of the modern day church was beginning to take hold at that time.

But none of that was what captured my attention so many years ago for my first sermon. This information is important and interesting, but it was the phrase I started with today that captured my heart. To paraphrase: Jesus sent them wherever he himself intended to go.

That small phrase changed the way I do ministry and the way I live my life because I was suddenly aware of how expansive God’s vision was for the spread of the gospel in the world. My life took on a sacredness and a purpose I had not realized before. Literally every place I go, Jesus intends to be in that place. Every place YOU go is a place where you are sent because that’s where Jesus wants to be. This phrase changed the ordinariness of my life into a life full of the possibility of intersection between Jesus and the people he loves. This is literally why I exist, why I am here! I had compartmentalized before—Sundays and prayer time for God; the rest of the week for my job, my family, my enjoyment. Maybe not that clear, but sort of like that.

So the grocery store, the gym, the movies, going out to dinner or stopping at a coffee shop, working in the garden, driving through the beauty and grandeur of the Adirondacks and stopping at a place where others are admiring the work of God too—every place, every place, every place we go is actually a place where we are sent because every place is a place where Jesus himself intends to go.

No, I am not saying that we are actively, loudly, annoyingly working on converting people everywhere we go—but through our lives, God is doing exactly that—minus the annoyance, hopefully. I don’t have to quote Bible verses to show that I am holy or that I am right. I just need to show up as a dedicated, faithful woman of God. When I realized this, I was able to both feel God’s presence in new ways, and I was also able to relax because I knew God had called me to be myself, and to go to places (most of the time!) where I only need to be authentically me, honestly Laurie, but also genuinely faithful, and to be unafraid to own my faith or even (oh my!) speak about my faith. This phrase has called me back again and again when I am on the verge of complaining or questioning because I now recognize the power and presence of God in every place I am called to visit, to serve, and to simply show up.

And this afternoon, it’s a wedding! Talk about a great assignment, huh?

Be blessed and be a blessing to others,



Post a Comment