|Posted by kelvinbueckert on August 11, 2019 at 6:30 PM|
According to Luke’s records, there were many who wanted to follow Jesus, but that on their own terms. We read of 3 such people in Luke Chapter 9:57-62. Peter, on the other hand, voiced the commitment of the twelve disciples Jesus had hand-picked. “We have left everything to follow You” (Luke 18:28).
Apparently there were more than those 12 who actually followed Jesus. After rebuking those who wanted to follow Him when it was convenient, Jesus appointed many more to assist Him in His ministry. They were to go head of Him to prepare various Israeli towns for His coming. He commissioned them to heal the sick and to preach about the Kingdom of God (10:9).
Imagine the extent of this ministry …..72 people were appointed to go in pairs. They might expect everything they needed to be provided – food and accommodation (:7). They were to receive whatever food was set before them. Culturally this was important, since the Jews had very strict food laws. Much later this was confirmed in Peter’s life when he had a vision revealing to him that whatever God calls clean to eat, if quite acceptable (Acts 10:9-16).
Who were these people appointed by God? What was their mandate for ministry? They were to preach the truth about Jesus Christ and His kingdom. Peter identified those who know Jesus as a Royal priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9) In Old Testament terms the priesthood was very exclusive. Not so with followers of Jesus. One might expect the 12 Apostles with whose names we are very familiar, to be singled out for this responsibility, but no – this group was nameless.
Does that matter? Yes! The message was all about Jesus, not about men. So it is today. When we witness to others about faith in Jesus, it is to bring glory to God alone. We are just instruments in His hands; the outcome is up to God. We will be accountable to God for obedience to Jesus’ command to make disciples, but that follows conversion. Before conversion takes place our only responsibility is to point the way to Jesus and to let the Holy Spirit do the rest. If we have been appointed we must be true to our calling as representatives of God. If we are rejected by folks, it is really God they are rejecting (:16).
The 72 returned with joy! They had never had such an experience! Even the demons had responded to their message because they were authorized by Jesus to take control (:18)
When I was learning to witness as a Christian I thought that we were to win others to Christ. Lost on my young mind was the reality of the power that resides in His name! I assumed a responsibility that became too heavy; it was a burden God did not intend me to bear. Jesus said “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” ( Matthew 11:30).
Now I can share my faith free from that burden, and instead approach folks with joy!
Are you weighed down with a responsibility that is not yours?
Can you let God be God, and you His instrument?
If you have been appointed by God do you believe He will equip you for the task?