Luke 10:1-16: Preparation for ministry: The trust we exercise
Phillip Ryken tells the story of ‘The China Gospel Fellowship—also known as Tanghe—is a large network of Chinese house churches. Early in 1994 the fellowship began collecting donations for a special missionary trip. Since most of the group’s members live in poverty, their giving was sacrificial. People sold their chickens or gave up money they had been saving for marriage. No matter what the cost, they wanted God to be glorified in China.
When sufficient funds had been raised, the fellowship held a worship service at which they commissioned seventy young evangelists to go out two-by-two and preach the gospel in the far provinces of China. The missionaries were young and single, some of them still in their teens. Given only enough money for a one-way journey, they were told to trust God to provide for their needs. This trust was well placed, for God was faithful to provide. Six months later all of the missionaries returned home safely, having established new churches in twenty-two of China’s thirty provinces.
In sponsoring this mission, the Tanghe were carrying out the Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel. They were also following the example of Jesus Christ, who “appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go” (Luke 10:1).’1
Luke 10:1-16 tells us the story of the second wave of disciples being sent out to Israel, the sending of the 70/72, depending on which ancient manuscript you use. Many like 70 because there are 70 nations in the table of nations in Gen. 10; or because there were 70 descendant of Jacob that went to Egypt when Joseph was 2nd in command; or because Moses appointed 70 elders of the people of Israel. The size of this section reveals its importance in Christ’s ministry. It is important because the time is growing short for Israel to embrace her Messiah. Christ is increasing the amount of sent out disciples to cover more ground because the time is growing short. Although the sending out of the 70 is not a model for us as a church, not every local church is to send out 70 evangelists, it does have important lessons for us who have been called to be part of the Great Commission.
We will be dividing this section under two headings, firstly we will be looking at the trust we have to exercise in fulfilling the great commission, and there are three things we need to trust God in, in prayer, in persecution and in provisions. Then secondly, we want to look at the message we are to declare, a message of peace, of the kingdom, and of judgement.