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Luke 10:1-12, 16
After this the Lord appointed seventy 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. See, 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 anyone is there who shares in peace, 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.’ I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.
“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
The Bottom Line
When Jesus sent out his disciples, I think he did a pretty good job of preparing them for the reception that they would receive, both the positive and the negative. I mean, on one hand, he told them to see their world as a plentiful harvest just ready to be reaped. And since that was the case, they could be sure that some folks would welcome them, even feed them, because they’d be ready and open to the message. On the other hand, though, the disciples could also expect to encounter a tougher audience, not unlike a lamp might expect when surrounded by wolves. You see, not everyone would be willing to listen. There would be whole towns within which folks just weren’t going to welcome the good news. And for those places and people, well, Jesus said to tell them that Sodom would have an easier time on the day of judgement than their town. And so, all things considered, the disciples could expect some good and some bad. But the bottom line was going to be the same: “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
And I’ll tell you, I think that’s something we also need to remember. I mean, as we go out with a message to share through words and work, I think we can still expect different results. But over it all is the exact same truth. When we share the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, when folks listen to us they’re also listening to him. But when they reject us, when they mock and ridicule us, and when they denigrate the truth because it doesn’t comfort to what they want to believe, they’re not just rejecting us; they’re rejecting Jesus Christ himself as well as the one who sent him, something for which they’ll be held accountable when they stand before the judgement seat of God. You see, just like it was for them it is for us, because the bottom line really hasn’t changed.