Luke 10:16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
How simple is the command of Jesus to make disciples! How complicated we have made the command! In this chapter, we see the paradigm for the church to evangelize, even in hostile territory.
Jesus forms a network of believers with the 70 who are called to participate in the this ministry. Thus commences this model formation for evangelism. It is an example of collaboration among like-minded people. Like John the Baptist, they have the assignment to prepare “the way” for the entrance of Jesus into the cities and the hearts of that are on His itinerant schedule.
Prayer is critical to the assignment, for Jesus understands the necessity to look to the Lord of the harvest for assistance in the journey. Jesus points to the need to acquire on the journey those who are committed to reaping the harvest of souls.
The assignment is rather austere. Thirty-five pairs of people are sent to 35 different cities in 35 different directions. They carry nothing extra, perhaps a tactical maneuver against potential robbers. The disciples are instructed how to embrace or reject the cordialities or lack thereof, dependent upon the conditions of peace that rest upon the dwelling place.
Here is the attention getter that is often over-looked. Jesus is so intricately engaged in the the process of preparation for the assignment, He even considers the dust that accumulates from the journey.
The dust of rejection could represent many things. It represents the extremes to which the disciples went to present the Kingdom. It represents the extremes of indifference in those who reject the Word that the disciples bring. It represents the spirit of unbelief in the people to whom they were sent. It represents the necessity to be ever watchful that the dust of rejection hinders us not from moving forward to the next assignment. Imagine how heavy the weight to carry of that which didn’t bring acceptance of Jesus.
What is great about the assignment that Luke 10 illustrates is how intricately Jesus is engaged in the process. In effect, verse 16 reminds of Who is the object of rejection. We are told that those who reject the disciples of Jesus Christ, reject Jesus. Those who despise Jesus, despise the Father who sent him. That which permits the assignment to be successful is the full engagement of the Triune God, including God the Holy Spirit Who anoints and appoints.
What an encouraging word for our evangelism and witness when we see it from Jesus point of view. We are neither the rejector nor the object of rejection. Jesus can handle any rejection that He receives. In effect, we just turn the rejection over to the One Who sent us; the one to Whom it is really directed. We release ourselves constantly from the dust that would weigh us down on the journey.
Apparently, the paradigm works. For when the 70 – the 35 pairs of partners who returned from 35 different cities in 35 different directions – there was a celebration. The rejection didn’t hinder them, but rather they rejoiced at the power of the Name of Jesus that they saw because they went on the assignment.
On our assignment, we have His Name. His Name will stop the wolves from devouring us; and provide for every need. His Name will bring contentment in the midst of chaos; and rejoicing despite rejection. Go! Teach! Preach! Baptize! His Name will handle all of our needs. The joy of rejection is we see the power of God in our midst, as demons submit to the authority of His Name.
Rev. Nawanna L. Miller-BA, MA, MDiv
Institute for Christian Discipleship, Inc
Founding Chairman & Pres.
Author of two new publications – Angels in My Room and Cruising the Cosmos
Available through Proof Positive Publications, Inc. Marietta, Georgia