Go, and Return With Joy!
Posted in Joy
Scripture: “After this, the Lord appointed 72 others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go. He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field. Go! I am sending you out….’” – Luke 10:1-3
Have you heard about the woman in town who’s fallen into some trouble? People have been whispering about all her poor choices. What a shame! Or did you catch a glimpse of the girl who’s been sick and homebound for 17 years? Sad story, that one. What about the fella in town who some say is “possessed”…. Have you heard about him?
The three people I’m speaking of are not from our town, but they might as well have been. They walked where Jesus walked, and they each saw him face to face, heard his voice, felt his touch. Their sad stories of circumstance and sinfulness were met with Jesus’s healing and grace, as well as his imperative, “Go!” Their stories were not for gossip; they were for the Gospel message: go and tell!
So far in our Lenten study of Luke, we’ve come across the sinful woman whose tears, hair and perfume washed Jesus’s feet. While others scoffed, Jesus scooped her up, applauded her faith and said, “Go in peace” (Luke 7:50), just as he did to the woman healed from chronic bleeding (Luke 8:48). To the demon-possessed man, he said, “Go and tell” (Luke 8:39), and to the law expert — after telling him the parable of The Good Samaritan — Jesus says, “Go and do likewise [be a good neighbor]” (Luke 10:37).
All of these people were provided healing or insight by our Lord, and they went away from their experience in a more peaceful, wise way. We, too, can grow from our difficult circumstances, if we go in peace, go and do like Jesus does, go and tell others after the God-glimpses and everyday miracles we encounter.
Then in Luke 10: 1-3, Jesus wants us to pause and linger a bit longer. In this story, He again tells people to “Go,” but over 16 verses he details what they’re supposed to go and do. In this story, Jesus is inviting 72 people to share in his work out in the world– or as we call it, “Kingdom Work.” He states, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (v. 2). In other words, people are out there ready to hear how God saves, how faith can heal, how Jesus forgives! And there aren’t enough people to do the task, so he tells them to pray: “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field” (v. 2).
What a lesson for us today! When we feel a nudge in our hearts to “Go,” we can pray for the Lord to send more helpers to cross the same paths. We never have to go alone when doing his work in the world. He reminds us in the first verse of today’s reading that when he sends us out, he’ll be right behind us (v. 1).
The story doesn’t end there with the 72. And the story doesn’t end with us, when we take on the task to “Go.” What happens next? Read further: “The 72 returned with joy….” Joy! When we are invited to work alongside him, serving out in the world, he says we, too, will return with Joy! Praise the Lord!
Prayer: Prince of Peace, you teach us through scripture that you are the Lord of Grace, who forgives us when we repent, who heals us when we’re afflicted, who tells us to go and live lives of peace, worthy of telling others about. Remind us to go when we feel your nudge to move, tell, and serve. We surely will return with Joy! Amen.
Submitted by Caroline C. Bennett