In Luke’s account of Jesus’ Journey to Jerusalem, there is an interlude in which a large group of disciples are sent out as evangelists (Luke 10:1-24). There are thirty-six teams of two, and Luke indicates they were sent as advance teams to the towns and villages that Jesus intended to visit. Their message was simple: the Kingdom of God is near.
This is synonymous with the arrival of Jesus. Jesus’ presence is the Kingdom of God. We see this in three things that happened with these evangelist teams.
First, they are to say to each house they enter, “Peace to this house,” a blessing indicating God’s favor. The Kingdom of God is accompanied with the blessings and gracious acts of the Lord. This week, as we journey with Jesus to the cross, are you accepting and enjoying the peace of God, the grace of God, the blessings of God? Is your life, no matter how dangerous and stressful, resting in the comfort and peace of the Lord? Here is a way to judge this for yourself: Are you angry or content most of the time? Peace and anger are not easy companions. This week, let us concentrate on releasing our angers and resting in God’s peace.
Second, the Kingdom of God is also a sign of God’s judgment. Where the teams were not welcomed, they were to announce that rejection did not mean the Kingdom of God was thwarted. Instead, such villages were to be warned that their fate was to be worse than the ancient city of Sodom, a place that received the deadly rain of heavenly fire for rejecting God’s call to repentance. This week, let us leave behind all of our rebellious attitudes and pretensions of independence as we travel with Jesus to the cross.
Third, Jesus tells the returned teams that they have the authority to “trample on snakes and scorpions and overcome all the power of the enemy.” The bites of poisonous snakes and the stings of scorpions are not necessarily deadly. More often they are extremely painful and debilitating. If Jesus’ metaphor says we can step on threats and crush the heads of opposition. We can travel with him in confidence. This week, let us confront our fears in following Jesus. Are we afraid of ridicule, of rejection, of sacrifice? May we lay behind these fears and stride confidently with the King of Kings as he nears the cross.
Lord, give us peace in this Lenten season. Let us drop our resistance to needed repentance. May we live confidently as your servants who journey with you throughout our lives. Amen.
Nebraska Christian College