“Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” Luke 10:16 (CEB)
Does the magnitude of this passage really sink in? Think about it. (PAUSE) Jesus sent out his disciples two by two in the passage from Luke 10:1-11, 16-20. He told them to go and take NOTHING with them other than the clothes on their backs. “The harvest is bigger than you can imagine” he said to them. It’s your job to go bring the Good News of God’s love and healing to them. Go in my name.
Wow . . .
They went. They followed Jesus’ instructions. They came back excited and exuberant because of their successes. They also didn’t stay where they weren’t welcomed. This is loaded with lessons for us as we try to follow Jesus in our own lives. Jesus calls us to serve him, to share God’s love with others, to “preach the Good News and use words if necessary” as St. Francis of Assisi said.
It’s challenging and intimidating enough to go out in Jesus’ name. There are many people who are afraid of rejection. In addition, there are also many who actually DO go out in Jesus’ name and are rather off-putting in their aggressiveness. So how do we strike a balance?
Another question is how do we do this without taking anything with us? Maybe that instruction piggy-backs on the lesson immediately prior to this where Jesus tells three people to follow him, and all three have excuses as to why they couldn’t do it right then and there. Maybe it’s saying that “things” get in our way. If we let material possessions, owning things, and having to pack a lot of “stuff” to take along, it will probably get in our way.
Jesus seems to say that ministry in his name can only be hindered if we let the “stuff” of life hold us back. So, we can minister more fully and with all our attention when we put Jesus as our focus and follow him by setting everything else aside. We still have the other “stuff,” but it’s just not more important than sharing God’s love.
When we focus on Jesus’ message, we are doing God’s work, building the kingdom of God on earth, inviting others to know Christ, and bringing Jesus to the world. When we do that, God is working through us. People will actually begin to see Jesus at work in the world – through us! That’s powerful stuff!
How will you put Jesus first?
How will you share the Good News of God’s love?
How will you preach the gospel with or without words?