1059 Sending seventy, joy in Holy Spirit, and test with question on neighbors -Jesus (14) (by Whirlwind)

First, Jesus was sending the seventy to preach Gospel in groups of two, which is the principle of preaching.  The Holy Spirit sent Apostle Paul to preach the Gospel by the same way. In the Book of Revelation, there are two witnesses.  The Book of Ecclesiastes sort of explains why two people in a group is better than one person. So, there’re at least two in a group when preaching. It is also the principle used in churches. We then ask what are the greater things we can do, which Jesus talked about. And we also mention the importance of repentance. Secondly, we see that joy of Jesus is due to the Holy Spirit, and also know that there is no one who can take the joy from the Holy Trinity away from you. Thirdly, we discuss a certain test from a lawyer.  We see what the Bible tells us is consistent – loving God and your neighbor as yourself. Finally, we can see the neighbor of the person who fell among robbers is a gentile Samaritan.  This is another example, which tells us that to see things in the aspect of human (the lawyer) and in the aspect of God is consistent. 

1. Lord Jesus sending the seventy

In Luke 10:1-16, it says, “Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. 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.’ But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades! “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.””

We can see the principle of sending people in pairs. During Paul’s first missionary journey, he was with Barnabas, as the verses in Acts 13:2-3 says, “While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” In Revelation 11:3, there are two witnesses, “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, it gives sort of reasons why it takes two, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” Here it tells that two lie down together for the reason of keeping warm, not the relationship of husband and wife.

This is also the principle of the church, which consists of a group of people, definitely not a single person. Jesus said, “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”(Matthew 18:19-20) When husband and wife can walk together, are there two already? Please notice that timing isn’t mentioned in these verses. Everything has its appointed time. Don’t think that just because a prayer is not answered immediately it means it is not being granted.

Talking about the Church, Jesus also said in John 14:12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” How can we do greater works than Jesus can do? Aren’t we have to pray in His name and hope to be granted? Therefore, this was talking about the works in the period of Word becoming flesh. What Church as a whole can do what He did during that period? This can be seen from the reason He said, “because I go to the Father.” He went to Heaven, the Holy Spirit descended in Pentecost, then the Church established. During the period Jesus was on earth, He was restricted by His flesh. Now we have the Holy Spirit residing in us, and also have the great mission which says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”(Matthew 28:19)   Nowadays, the members of a church can go anywhere with the Holy Spirit. He is no longer restricted. He said in John 14:13-14, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” We emphasize again that timing isn’t mentioned here. God has absolute authority and He decides when a prayer would be accomplished. 

When we discussed the sent twelve, we had already talked about ” the laborer is worthy of his wages.” Basically, the seventy didn’t bring anything with them.  And we also discussed about “…the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”(Luke 10:16) This is to see things in the aspect of God: “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”(John 3:18) Here, we don’t repeat the discussions.  When they met people, who were worthy of peace, the peace would rest on them. They would heal the sick at that city, and proclaimed that the Kingdom of Heaven was coming.

These verses have also mentioned the importance of repentance. “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.””(Matthew 4:17) Please notice that people at Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were God’s people, but Tyre and Sidon were Gentile cities. The verses say clearly that they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes if miracles were done among them. On the opposite side, God’s peoples didn’t repent. Although He did many miracles, they seldom believed Him. No wonder Jesus said, “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.””(Matthew 8:11-12) In the era of the New Testament, we have a promise, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”(1 John 1:9-10) We need to really repent in our hearts. 

“The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”'(Luke 10:17-20)

These verses are consistent with the verses,  “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”(Revelation 12:9) The Bible also says, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, …And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”(Revelation 20:11-15) We can see what Jesus emphasized was very different. Ordinary peoples see supernatural things such as “the demons are subject to us in Your name,” they would be very happy just like the seventy. But what Jesus emphasized was forever things since He said, “but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” We must understand that the names for Christians are in the book of life. 

2. Jesus rejoicing greatly in the Holy Spirit

“At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Turning to the disciples, He said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.””(Luke 10:21-24)

The second half of the verses is the same as what was told in the Gospel of Matthew, “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”(Matthew 13:16-17) Talking about infants, it is said in Psalm 8:2, “From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.” Do we genuinely know and recognize that we’re infants? In front of God, maybe we can. How about before others? We often think that we are talented just like ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.’ It is said in Luke 22:25-26, “And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” The standard between the Church and the world is very different. In the Church, being talented is not the most important thing. Even serving tables, one of the criteria is to be full of the Spirit as the verses said, “So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.””(Acts 6:2-4)

Speaking about the joy, the Bible says, “You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”(John 14:28) “The Father is greater than I” is just for the period of Word becoming flesh since the Father sent the Son. In ordinary time, they’re with equal respect and honor, the Holy Trinity.  “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”(John 16:22) After Jesus resurrected, He fulfilled His promise, “I will come to you.” Therefore, the joy from the Holy Trinity no one can take away from you.

3. The test of a lawyer 

In Luke 10:25-28, it says, “And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”” Loving God and neighbors as ourselves are apparently necessary.  But merely talking is useless, we need to do this in our life. In other words, we need to have action out of faith as described in James 1:22, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”

The record in Matthew 22:35-40 is basically the same, “One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”” A family which can make the Lord the first priority is really a blessed one.

In Synopses, the Gospel of Luke tells more. “One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.”(Mark 12:28-34)

We can see a scribe is a lawyer.  And we also see that what the Bible tells us is consistent regarding the two commands we should do. We really have to think along such a consistent direction. We need to really understand the Bible, and not just do things on the surface all burnt offerings and sacrifices. Indeed, the lawyer wasn’t far away from the kingdom of God.  Therefore, the previous words said in the Gospel of Luke is “do this and you will live.” In the era of the New Testament, we no longer need to offer the dead sacrifices. But we need to do what Paul said, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”(Romans 12:1) Meanwhile,  we need to have a life to separate us from the world and lead us to sanctification as said in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

4. Who is a neighbor?

It says in Luke 10:29-37, “But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.””

The priest and the Levite weren’t a neighbor for the person who fell among robbers. Both of them passed by on the other side. A neighbor was indeed the Samaritan, who took care of him. Let us emphasize again, we need to have the action out of faith like what said in the Book of James, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.”(James 1:22-24) Here, we see another example, where viewing things in the aspect of human (lawyer) and in the aspect of God (Jesus) were the same.    

 (Verses refer to those in NASB unless otherwise specified.)

(You can get all articles in “https://a-christian-voice.com/” under “On spiritual understanding about life.”)

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