Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota
Year C, Proper 9
After this the Lord appointed
seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and
place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, "The harvest is
plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest
to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending
you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no
sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first
say, `Peace to this house!' And if anyone is there who shares in peace,
your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you.
Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for
the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house.
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.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome
you, go out into its streets and say, `Even the dust of your town that
clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this:
the kingdom of God has come near.' I tell you, on that day it will be more
tolerable for Sodom than for that town.
"Whoever listens to you listens
to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects
the one who sent me."
The seventy returned with joy,
saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!" He said to them,
"I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have
given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the
power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice
at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are
written in heaven."
Reflection on Luke 10:1-12,16-20
“The Way” began when Jesus made the decisive choice to head toward
Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). “Journey” along the Way is a major motif in
Luke’s 2-volume work. It is at the forefront of the special Luke
material in 9:51-18:14 (not in Mark and Matthew). It is also at the
forefront of the book of Acts, with its accounts of Paul’s journeys that
led Church mission outward from Jerusalem toward (even if not to) “the
ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
There can be no doubt that for Luke, Jesus’ turn toward Jerusalem, the
moment when “he set his face to go to Jerusalem,” was a critical turning
point not only for Jesus, but also for the whole Christian movement that
he inaugurated. Jesus and followers alike are thereby set upon their
common fateful journey. Jesus’ pattern of self-giving for the sake
of humanity initiates the pattern of discipleship that in centuries to
come will be the shape of the Church’s reason for being. When Luke
inserts into his material from Mark this long section (9:51-18:14), he
signals the importance of that decisive turning point. Luke moves
at 9:51 from the theme of Jesus’ identity as “Servant-Benefactor” (4:1-9:50)
to the theme of Jesus’ journey toward Jerusalem. The first stage
of that journey (9:51-13:21) will be echoed in the mission activity of
Acts among Samaritans. [See Frederick W. Danker, Luke (Proclamation
Commentary; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976), pp. 106-08.] The
manner in which Jesus journeyed toward Jerusalem is to shape the manner
in which the Church moves outward from Jerusalem.
As if to emphasize the decisive nature of Jesus’ “setting his face”
toward Jerusalem, Luke first underlined the urgency of disciples following
without delay (9:57-62), then set forth the Mission of the Seventy to draw
a sharp line between lambs and wolves (10:3), between “peace” and no peace
(10:5—6), between “welcome” and rejection, between the “kingdom of God”
(or sovereignty of God) and rejection of God’s rule, between “harvest”
and destruction worse than that which came to Sodom.
Jesus’ turn toward Jerusalem was no less decisive for the disciples
than it was for him. It is the same journey for them as for him,
the same mission. “Whoever listens to you listens to me,,,” (10:16).
The consequences of their mission are as decisive as was Jesus’ first move
toward Jerusalem. “Like a flash of lightning” demons are undone and
Satan “falls from heaven” (10:18). Order and “authority” are re-established
(10:19) when the kingdom of God “has come near to you” (10:9, 11).
Disciples of Jesus actually see and hear what the prophets could only long
to see and hear (10:23-24). People love their neighbors as they love
themselves (10:25-28). A foreign Samaritan has mercy on a stricken
Jewish traveler, so “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:29-37).
Reflections on other Readings for this Sunday:
no reflection available
no reflection available
Gibbs, PhD, is a retired theologian, who attends Trinity Episcopal
Church, Park Rapids, MN. He originally wrote this reflection
in 2004. He and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments
or additional reflections to John
Gibbs or any MEESC
member, or mail them to:
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Elk River, MN 55330-0065 USA
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