3/31/2019 – God Moves Us… To Witness, Luke 10:1-17

As we heard Jesus a few weeks ago calling the disciples to follow him

We move now to see Jesus sends 70 disciples to various cities to hear about the kingdom of God and to prepare to see Jesus.

Let us hear Luke 10:1-17 while viewing specific words from the text of Jesus teachings of being an active witness along with pictures from the Holy Lands.

When we think of a witness, a first expression may be that of a witness that is required to come to court to answer questions about a case.  There are various types of witnesses such as an expert witness who shares special knowledge on the matter of interest.  Maybe the most notable witnesses are the eye witnesses, who testify what they have experienced in their senses of seeing, hearing, smelling or touching in regards to the event.

These individuals can be key components to discovering the truth of the case as they give a first hand description of what happened in the event.

We find throughout the scriptures the word witness that is similar to what we know of an eye witness in court, a witness is to reveal the truth to others of a divine event.  As Christians we are called to share the good news of Jesus Christ, to affirm that Jesus ushered in God’s Kingdom here on earth and one day will bring God’s kingdom to completion for all eternity.

Since we are all different and unique, we will experience Jesus in different ways, and witness the good news of the love of Christ in unique ways.

We may refer to witnessing by some other names as evangelism, discipleship or mission.  No matter the name, all of these should lead us toward furthering God’s Kingdom rather than hindering it.  We have possibly been on the receiving end of an experience that did not seem to promote the good news of Christ, or we have failed to take the opportunity when it was presented to us.

Think of a time you shared Jesus with someone or someone shared Jesus with you?

As you reflect on this experience, let’s reflect back on this passage in Luke where there are at least 10 ways that Jesus teaches and sends these 70 disciples to be an active witness preparing the way for Jesus to enter the cities.  See how many of these 10 ways you lived out when you were an active witness for Christ and feel free to write the words on the insert below your doodle, drawing or words.

1- NOTICE

First is to notice, to see as God sees and when we do we can see that the need is great, the harvest is plentiful and like any harvest this is a job we can not do alone, we need others alongside us to work the fields.

2- PRAYER- Ask the Lord of the harvest

Prior to any task, prayer is a necessary component.  There may be minutes, hours or even years spent in prayer prior to sharing the love of Christ with our neighbor.     We can also challenge ourselves to find ways to pray before, during and after sharing time with a person.

3- PARTICIPATE- Go on your way

Once we notice, and pray, we actually need to go and participate in the mission, in witnessing to the truth.

There is a time to be still and know that we serve a great God

and there is a time to go and show the world this great God we serve.

4- WARNING of the dangers- lambs in the midst of wolves

And when we go, it is not always easy, sometimes it will not be received well, we will feel discouraged.

5- PURPOSE-Carry Nothing and Greet no one on the road

Knowing what your purpose is helps you to live out your goal.  The goal is to share that the kingdom of God was near and they were called to go with wealth of this knowledge not with their pockets lined with wealth.  What courage and freedom to travel lightly, to depend on the hospitality of others and be intentional in poverty.

Being intentional on the purpose of mission or witnessing allows for us to approach each situation not with the wealth of our strengths or income but to depend on the strength of our God.

Also, Jesus says not to greet anyone on the road. You have a purpose, complete this mission first before doing anything else. When living out a purpose that is difficult and even dangerous, we can’t be distracted.   How often we have a task to do, but do 10 other tasks before the reaching the one we need to accomplish.  Or when we go into the grocery store for milk, and after buying 10 items walk out of the store with everything but milk.   If going to the grocery store for simple task can be distracting, you can understand why Jesus encourages to stay focused on the hard task, instead of procrastinate or waste time along the road, they may miss the destination all together.

6- PEACE- Peace to this house and the kingdom of God has come near to you.

Their mission of peace was stated from the start.  Their purpose was to prepare others to encounter Jesus and this was going to be done through being a grateful presence and a peaceful conversation as they enter into people’s homes.

7- TABLE -Share table fellowship with those who welcome you
“Eat what is set before you.”

There is something sacred about a meal around a table, with friends, family and even strangers.  I believe our bodies relax, our body and minds are nourished and there is an opportunity for deep reflection around a table and opportunities are presented to be an active witness!

8- COMPLETION- Success is not the goal- When they do not welcome you…
Playing the game is not about winning or loosing but completing the game–

The 70 disciples had a mission, a purpose, a goal, a witness to stay and eat in the homes to cure those who were sick and to tell about the kingdom of God.  Their mission was very holistic with receiving hospitality, healing the sick and sharing the exciting news of Jesus Christ the embodiment of the kingdom of God to others

9- PERSEVERE -Shake the dust off your feet if you are not welcomed

The apostles must be willing to go without food, shelter, or welcome for the sake of the gospel.  Would you or I be able to stay true to the mission when approaching a witnessing opportunity possibly tired and hungry knowing we need to stay true to the mission.

10- ASSURANCE -Assurance in the fulfillment of God’s redemptive mission

We know the focus of our mission is to be about Christ and to live each day in his name.  This is the assurance we must hold on to each day.  That our value is not based on status, possessions or abilities, but our hope is found in nothing less than our Lord.

In reflection of these 10 ways to be an active witness, they remind us that it is not an easy road.  I am sure the disciples had many who rejected them during their time of being active witnesses for Christ, but what they focused on when they returned was that of joy for even the demons were submissive.  We don’t rejoice in our accomplishments but in how through Christ we are witnesses of his love and grace in the world.

With each rejection, with each hard step, we can easily avoid the people and places that we are called to witness, and we then begin to experience not the sins of commission but the sins of omission.

The towns that Jesus cursed in this reading may have been where lots of dust was shaken off by the feet of the disciples for we hear in Verses 13-16 woes declared to Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum

While in the Holy Lands, two of the three towns were visited by our group, and my first reaction as we were leaving the Sea of Galilee and heading north, why are we going to visit Chorazin a place where Jesus laid woes and cursings upon?  However walking along the grounds, you can see the ways the ruins have been established teaching all those who visit how close the homes were to each other and to the synagogue.  To realize how a town was all within walking distance, not spread out as we see now with easy access due to roads and cars.  And to realize that all the places and people we share the love of Christ will not receive it well, or will turn their back or maybe someday will receive but not when we can see it.

These three cities have had opportunities as cities to hear and respond to the teachings that other cities have not.  Therefore they have a greater responsibility and are incurring greater judgment.  Those who are privileged to opportunities have a higher expectation.

As a Christian worshiping here today, what teachings have you received throughout your life, what opportunities have you experienced in your faith, and what responsibility do you consider to be a privileged to have received the good new of Christ to know that now we too have a high expectation placed upon us to be an active witness, to not hold the good news to ourselves but to share this with others.

I invite you to look at the doodle, drawing or writing that you spent time in prayer creating.

I noticed that many at the thermal shelter this past week spent time coloring in adult coloring books or doodling on paper. In holding this scripture text with me all week along with being aware that this is the last week of the shelter, knowing that many would not have a place to call home come Monday evening.

I paused to look over one evening as I sat by a gentlemen who was doodling on a napkin. While around him were using pens to color in adult coloring books or interested in their phones. He began drawing and this is what he doodled that night.

I have often wondered what I would say to someone if I had the opportunity to talk to them face to face.  And hear was the opportunity.

I inquired about his picture and he shared he could make $300 a day doing this which could be a whole week’s pay at work. I then asked, but does this give you purpose?  He didn’t know how to respond other than I make $300 a day. I then asked what job did he work at that he really did like.  He immediately said tree work.  I was impressed since tree work is very dangerous.  He didn’t say why this was not an option and why flying a sign would.

In thinking through our doodles and drawings and words today, these may have reflected our worries, our joys, our callings. Reflect on the active witnesses in your life who noticed you, who ate with you, and who often on a daily or regular basis shared the love of Christ with you and may we live out all the creative and diverse ways we can be an active witness for someone this week leading them to experience the kingdom of God right here and right now through Christ our Lord.

Gracious and Loving God,

We ask with bold faith and for the Spirit to give us an opportunity this week to witness and share the love of Christ.  Move our hearts, our hands and our mouths to speak and show your love to others in the days to come.  In Jesus name, Amen

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