Luke 10:8-9 Peace of God

“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.’” (Luke 10: 8-9)

In Chapter 9 of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tries to put the twelve to work, but they do not fully comprehend the power that Jesus has given them. For example, they tell Jesus that the crowd is hungry. Jesus says that they should feed the people. They get stuck in their worldly thinking, and only think in terms of worldly solutions. Finally Jesus feeds the crowd through the power of God. The chapter concludes with Jesus doing a question and answer session, during which he describes the commitment and attitudes that are needed for a person to participate in the harvest of souls for the kingdom of God.

Chapter 10 begins with Jesus sending out the 70. His instructions to them are very similar to those given to the twelve. Jesus is saying, go ahead of me and announce my coming. Use the gifts I am giving you to prepare the way. It is interesting that Jesus did not instruct the 70 to go into a town and immediately tell the people that the kingdom of God is coming near to you. His instructions were to enter a town and accept an invitation for fellowship. I think that the 70 possessed something that was tangible. It was not their clothes, their money, or their eloquence of speech that distinguished them, but the peace of God that they were carrying. This gift was sufficient to cause some of the people to notice them, and to extend them and invitation for hospitality. The 70 were instructed to accept the invitation without conditions when the peace they freely gave was received. They were to sit down, share whatever food they were given, and get to know the needs of the people. Then they were to use the power of God that Jesus had given them to heal those who were in need. Only after they had demonstrated the power of God, were they to announce the fact that the kingdom of God has come near to the people.

Are these Jesus’ instructions for doing evangelism? Honestly, I have struggled for a number of years about doing evangelism. I used to think about proclaiming the Good News and my heart would shrink in fear. I would think about healing the sick, and I would think, I don’t have enough faith. I could sit down with people and share a meal, but people would rarely speak honestly of their needs.

The problem that I faced was expressed in Luke 10:5-6. “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.” My problem was that I didn’t have the peace of God. Thus, I could not give to others that which I did not have or didn’t understand. Without the peace of God to freely give away, no one noticed me or revealed the intimate details of their lives. Without the peace of God, there was little hope of using the power of God to bring about healing. Without the true peace of God, there was no successful preaching of the Good News.

I believe it is God’s plan to give every committed Christian His true and complete peace. To receive this gift, we must have appropriate attitudes and an uncompromising commitment to the work of God’s Kingdom. My focus has been on asking God to reveal and correct my bad attitudes, and to show me the things that are obstacles to being a fully committed Christian. As God has done this work in me, which has involved much healing, I have begun to experience His peace and the fruit of that glorious peace. God sometimes does work through me to heal others, not because I am special, but simply because I have yielded my self-will enough for Him to give me enough of His peace so that I can pass it on to others.

Lord Jesus, the power of your peace is truly beyond my comprehension. I long for more of it. I only want it so that I can give it away to support the Kingdom purposes that our Father in Heaven has ordained. Amen.

Guests and hosts; preachers and hearers

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.’ (Luke 10: 8-9)

These are further instructions from Jesus to the seventy or seventy-two disciples whom Jesus sent out on a mission (similar to the one he had given the twelve core disciples). The complete list of commands:

  • Pray for additional people to carry out the task of mission (“pray to the Lord…to send out laborers”)
  • Travel lightly (“carry no moneybag, no knapsack…”)
  • Go quickly on your mission (“greet no one on the road”)
  • Give your hosts a blessing of peace (“First say, ‘Peace be to this house!'”)
  • Don’t move about from house to house
  • Eat what they give you
  • Heal the sick
  • Announce that God’s reign is near, whether or not you are well received

It’s hard not to see this list as a complement to the commands in the Didache (probably written at roughly the same time as the gospel of Luke) about how early Christian communities were to receive itinerant teachers, apostles and prophets who came to them:

  • Receive them, but only if they teach “so as to increase righteousness and knowledge of the Lord”
  • Don’t let them stay too long (otherwise it is clear they are out for their own good) or ask for money or other goods–especially if they request things as part of their prophecy
  • Watch how they act, to see if their life is consistent with their message
  • If their message proves true, accept it and act on it
  • Let them stay if they can provide for themselves (If he … is an artisan, let him work and eat. [But if he is unwilling to work] he is a Christ-monger.”)
  • If they do stay with you, they do deserve your support

This has been quite a ramble, so let me ramble a bit more: doesn’t all this seem to apply to our current ‘television evangelists’ and even our paid ministers of the gospel?