Jesus calls seventy people to prepare the way for the coming reign of God.
The kingdom of God has come near.
Jesus invites others to join him in proclaiming this new kingdom.
In joining Jesus in this mission the seventy people are told by him to have complete trust in the Lord.
They are to carry no purse, no bag, no sandals.
They are to receive whatever is provided.
Wherever they go they are to heal people who need healing.
They are to give the peace of Jesus.
And they are to proclaim and to teach the message of God.
In the midst of this great sending, Jesus also gives his people a warning.
Not everyone who hears this good news will accept it or welcome it.
In fact, Jesus goes so far as to say that those who come bearing this good news, will be like lambs surrounded by wolves.
For us today, we too are well aware that the message we bear of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness is not always heard or received.
Event today there are movements in the world that are hostile to the church.
Persecution of Christians in parts of the world is at a devastating and tragic level.
But even though this is true Jesus said that some will hear and some will respond.
Jesus said you will say to some, “Peace to this house!” and those in that house will share in that peace.
In the end we do not know who will accept the message and who will not.
The Holy Spirit, which is the Lord and giver of life, blows as it does, not necessary as we understand it.
Let me say that again because this is a key theological point here that we can pull from our Gospel reading for today.
The Holy Spirit blows as it does not necessary as we understand it!
In life I have discovered that if you share in and give the peace and love of God to others than eventually people will indeed respond back to you in life-giving ways.
We don’t always know when or how but the Spirit will work among us.
People will respond back to you in peaceful and loving ways.
People will share in your faith as the Spirit moves.
The Spirit gives us faith, as a gift.
Faith is not something that we make or do for ourselves.
Faith is not being spiritual but not religious.
Faith is a relationship with the living Christ.
Faith is the Spirit inviting us into the mission of God.
The Spirit calls us to faith in Christ through the Gospel.
The Gospel is communicated to us through many ways.
These ways we participate in with one another.
In particular the Gospel is communicated to us through the Bible, through the proclamation of God’s Word of grace and forgiveness, through Water and the Word in baptism, through bread and wine of Holy Communion, and through the life-giving presence of other believers.
Through the Gospel we find strength again and again to continue in the work that God has called us into.
We are caught by the Holy Spirit to join in on what God is doing in the world even now at this time and in this place.
The challenge here for us is that it is too easy to forget that we are called to share the good news.
In our world today it is easy to get discouraged and to give up.
It is easy to become cynical and pessimistic about our faith.
In our sin nature we turn towards things that are not life-giving.
We get caught up in the ways of sin. Sin leads to death.
But Jesus leads us to life.
Jesus is a well of life for us.
He will not let us to fall into the ways of sin and to become spiritually lost.
He will not abandon us in this life or in the life to come.
He will continue to give us living water.
He will fill us with all the spiritual blessings that we need so that we might continue to journey down the road of faith and life.
Today for my sermon this is the main point that I would like for you to receive.
Remember always that the Lord goes with those whom he calls.
Jesus will go with us to strengthen us, to encourage us, and to give to us the peace that we need.
Now is the time to live out our faith. Our years and our days are numbered. Not one of us gets out of this life alive.
Now is the time to live out our faith even in the face of challenges and difficulties.
Again and again I have seen the power of God at work.
This is true not only in my life but in the life of other believers who seek to follow the Lord and who work to tell others about this good news of God’s grace and love.
In conclusion, I would like for us to reflect on these points.
First, when we seek to show the peace and love of God to others this will at times be received well. Rejoice when that happens. At these times we will share in God’s peace and love. But there will be times when we try to show peace and love to others and we will hit a roadblock. When this happens do not give up. Do not be discouraged.
Jesus said in verse six of our Gospel reading for today that if this happens then our peace will return back to us. Verse six is such an encouraging Bible verse. Commit this verse to heart.
Jesus said, “If anyone is in the house who share in peace than your peace will rest on that person but if not, it will return to you.” The peace of God is not something that we can lose or become empty of.
The peace of God will continue to remain upon us throughout our lives.
Secondly, let the people in your life see you living out your faith. Regardless, of what others may say, even if they appear critical towards you, continue living out your faith.
Eventually people will respond in positive and in life-giving ways.
In life we often get treated in the way that we treat others.
Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew that the measure we give will be the measure we get. We must ask ourselves are we living out the Gospel in our lives or we turning away from God’s ways?
Lastly, remember that we all are called by Jesus to break in the kingdom of God each and every day. We all are appointed by Jesus to teach and to live out the Gospel. Why do I say this? How do I know that we all are called to join God in mission?
Look one more time at verse two in our Gospel reading. Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful but the labors are few. There is a great need here for kingdom workers.
Meaning that Jesus needs everyone here to participate in his kingdom work!
How can you live out your faith this coming week at your place of work, in your home, with your neighbors?
There must be something you can do even if it is just offering a silent prayer for a co-worker, a neighbor, or a friend who is in need and who needs to hear a word of grace.
There is so much hatred, judgement, and toxic emotions being spilled out each and every day in God’s world.
But Jesus offers an alternative message.
His message is a message of love and grace and forgiveness.
Jesus’ message is more relevant that ever before.
There might be some that say that our faith is outdated and no-longer relevant.
But we say that the opposite is true.
Jesus’ message is more relevant and current than ever.
Look around you and you will see.
God bless you as you rejoice in the truth that you are a beloved child of God who is called by God to prepare the way of the Lord.