Mission Accomplished – Saturday, 26th week in ordinary time – Luke 10:17-24

Mission Accomplished – Saturday, 26th week in ordinary time – LK 10:17-24

Jesus has begun his journey to Jerusalem having completed his Galilean ministry (Luke 9:51). On ‘the way’ he sets out to teach the disciples while at the same time sending them out on mission as they walk along.

He had sent the seventy out in pairs to every town and place that he himself intended to go (10:1-2). Often, the first face of Jesus that some would ever see is the face of the disciple sent out; namely your face and mine. In that we can become the best or the worst advertisers of the Good News to others.

What  also strikes us  as we read this text is the privilege we share when we are called to minister for Christ in his vineyard. Earlier in Chapter 9:1 the twelve were given power over demons and to cure diseases. While the seventy disciples did not receive the exact mandate,(10:9) their reporting of their mission indicates that this mandate to the twelve was extended to them.

Clearly, the all-inclusive Gospel proclaimed by Luke is not merely limited to the a limited audience of faith seekers but also a wider circle of those who will minister in the vineyard. The appointment of the seventy, close on the heels of the calling of the twelve apostles, is a clear indication that the little inner circles that run rings around Church leadership is not what Christ desired. In short Christ chose the ‘more the merrier’ policy when it came to ministry rather than the exclusive cosy clubs that certain faith groups have come to be.  

Surely this mission could not have been easy. When sending them out Jesus warned them of rejection (10:10-12) yet we are told that all of those sent returned. This was a bumper harvest as none of them fell by the wayside. The seventy persevered and we can safely assume that their ministry was not all roses and peaches. The lesson serves well to those of us who minister today in the name of the Lord.

The disciples left with trepidation but return with joy. Joy is the direct consequence of a mission rooted in Christ. The seventy have returned with joy and their joy is not rooted in their personal achievements but rather that they have ministered “in his name”. Ministry can often meet dead ends when we make it all about ourselves rather than the Lord in whose name we ought to minister in.

The seventy clearly have no ego and gave the Lord all the glory; the result is pure joy. They unabashedly name God as the source of all that they have achieved. While the Gospel names the twelve apostles we are never told the names of the first seventy missionaries of Christ; their names are written in heaven. It will always remain true that a man’s greatest glory is not what he has done but what God has done for him.

The ministry of the seventy is further strengthened by the testimony of Christ who declares that he himself watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. Satan, himself a fallen angel, desired to be as powerful as God. Now this fallen angel is a defeated enemy forever for Christ is joined by an army of faithful and faith filled ministers.

But Jesus also has a warning for all those who minister in his name, namely to be open to Gods will for us. If we allow our learning and wisdom to come in the way of his mission for us then the revelation of his word will cease. Our spirit should always be childlike; open like a child who desires to learn and absorb more. In God’s school we must always be kinder garden students

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