Monday, August 27, 2018

Urgency of the Kingdom

Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you’ ” (Luke 10:9).

We return today to our studies in Luke. After the revelation of His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus set His face toward Jerusalem. Everything that happened from that point on is part of what is technically called the “Lucan travel narrative,” as Jesus moved closer and closer to His destiny. As He walked to the hall of judgment over the last several weeks of His earthly life, Jesus announced the judgment on Israel and the salvation of the world.

Just as Jesus had sent out the Twelve to preach the kingdom before His transfiguration, so now He sends out 72 of His “outer circle” of disciples to announce that the kingdom is even nearer. He tells them they are going out as sheep among wolves, sent by the Good Shepherd. They are to travel light and to make headquarters in only one house in each village. They are to eat whatever they are served, not worrying about the dietary customs of the Jews or the dietary laws of Leviticus. They are to heal the sick and proclaim the nearness of the kingdom of God.

This strategic offensive on Israel and her villages was a unique event in world history. The Commander in Chief was sending out His elite soldiers with an urgent message. We are not commanded to imitate these extreme tactics at every point of church history. It was this time of crisis in redemptive history that called for these measures.

Yet there is a sense in which the urgency of that hour still abides today, though it may not continue in the same dimension and intensity. The whole church is sent, not just to the villages of Israel, but to all the world, with the message of the advent of the kingdom of God. It is incredible that the urgency of our Lord’s commission has been so neglected that two thousand years after His command there are still thousands of tribes and people groups in this world who have never heard the Gospel.

God has not given us powers to heal, nor has He called us to drop our families and run to the mission field. He has, however, called us to have a sense of urgency. How urgent are your prayers for God’s commandos on the mission field? How urgent are your prayers for your country? Today, ask God to give you a greater sense of urgency.