After this the Lord appointed seventy-two 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 like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.
“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
Let’s begin today with the last verse in the daily text.
Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.
Consider that Jesus is speaking this word directly to you or to me. “[Insert your name], whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me.”
Humor me, and speak that sentence aloud with your name inserted as though Jesus were speaking it directly to you. Remember what the voice of God spoke on the top of Transfiguration Mountain? Of course you remember, but in case not, he said, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”
I think we must take that word quite literally. It’s hard to listen if no one is actually speaking. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I actually listen when I read. In order to listen to something or someone, I must “hear” them. Right? When I read, I think, process, understand (sometimes), and so forth, but I don’t listen, because I don’t hear. The Word of God was not written primarily to be read, but to be heard. As the Scriptures say, “Faith comes from hearing” (Rom. 10:17). I don’t think it’s possible to listen without hearing.
In light of this, I want to issue a challenge for us on this journey to the cross. Whenever Jesus speaks in the text, speak it aloud. It will be a good step in our effort to “listen to him.”
Whoever listens to you [insert your name] listens to me; whoever rejects you [insert your name] rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.
Did you feel the gravity of that sentence? It’s astonishing. Jesus is effectively making you his agent. In other words, you represent Jesus. You speak for him. Listening to you is the same thing as listening to him.
Rather than giving you more to read, I’m going to stop there. I want to ask you to give your full attention to this claim. Is this true? If so, what are the implications? As a final step, I’d like to ask you to write the bolded sentence (including your name) somewhere you can see it and rehearse it (aloud) each day on this journey to the cross. Please.
For my money, and I’ve never thought or articulated it as such, but this is the singular point of discipleship-serving as the agent of Jesus. Am I missing something?
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a son/daughter.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a saint.
If you really believed this about being Jesus’ agent, what difference would it make in your life? Be practical with your answer.
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