“Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” Luke 10: 8-9
The story of Jesus sending out the 70 recently captured my attention, making me say, “Why not us?”
I can identify with the 70 more easily than with the twelve, for whatever reason. Maybe it is because we gave the twelve special titles. They are “apostles,” after all. I don’t think I qualify.
But the 70? They were hanging around Jesus from just a bit more distance. The 70 probably knew the 12 but when the big stuff happened, they were on the outskirts. But in Luke 10, the 70 take center stage.
Jesus called the 70 together to create His “advance team,” for lack of a better word. Their mission? Go to cities where Jesus was going, proclaiming peace as they entered. Then, with no Jesus around to help, they were to heal the sick and say those words Jesus said so often, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”
Wow. What a calling.
Jesus asked these 70 to go into homes and say, “Peace be to this house,” (in other words, simply be kind), to eat anything put in front of them (meet people where they are, regardless of traditions), and as we just mentioned, heal the sick (find the wounded and cure them).
Jesus didn’t ask them to go barreling into someone’s home and declare them sinners, nor did He ask the 70 to begin any interaction with an agenda to “fix” anyone. Their mission was all about the good news--God’s kingdom was so close they could almost touch it.
The only rebuke Jesus called for was if a city rejected the kindness and goodness the 70 offered.
In our work, we often feel an urgency to “help” our clients see the error of their ways. Perhaps, on the rarest of occasions, this may be appropriate. But perhaps we are more like the 70.
When a client or patient comes in our door, what if she found peace in our speech and actions? What if, like the 70, we sought healing for the many emotional wounds she carries?
And what if—like the 70—we found a modern-day version of the phrase, “The kingdom of God has come near to you?”
Sometimes, a hurting client with the odds stacked against her needs to know, “No matter what you see, I promise you, God is on your side. He is for you. Even now, give Him a chance to help. He won’t let you down.”
The 70 came back with stories which amazed even Jesus. Apparently, they did something right—these 70 who weren’t even in the “inner circle.” You know what? Maybe we can do the same. We start with peace, meeting our clients where they are. Then, we add healing and a simple message: The kingdom of God has come near to you.
It might just work, even today.
by Kirk Walden, Advancement SpecialistHeartbeat International
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