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Sunday, July 3, 2022
Today’s Scripture Reading | Luke 10:1–11, 16–20
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way; I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if a person of peace is there, your peace will rest on that person, but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’”
“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. Indeed, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (NRSV)
There is an important reminder of humility in this scripture. At the end (verse 20), Jesus cautions the seventy-two not to rejoice that they have power and authority but instead to rejoice that they are doing what is righteous, such that their names are written in heaven. Rejoice that they are doing the work of God and that God, through Christ, has empowered them to do so.
This is an important corrective. Don’t think that this is all about you, Jesus cautions. Remember that this is about God and the gifts that God has given you.
Similarly, there is an important reminder about reciprocity in this story. Those who are sent out to serve through healing and testifying are told to eat “whatever they provide” and to “eat what is set before you.” In this way, those who are helped are also able to help; those who are served are also able to serve. The disciples are encouraged to honor and respect what is offered and to receive it with humility.
Do not rejoice that you have power and authority, Jesus teaches. Rejoice that you are able to testify that “the kingdom of God has come near”; rejoice that you are able to both give and receive with graciousness. Rejoice that there is healing and generosity. Rejoice that there are places where people embody and share peace with each other.
God of love and justice, help me to use the gifts you have given me for the benefit of your world. Help me to receive as well as to give. Give me a spirit of rejoicing that you are with me each and every day. Amen.
Written by Nanette Sawyer, Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Small Group Ministry
Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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