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The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost C, July 3, 2022

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The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost C, July 3, 2022

Jesus sends forth his disciples, transforming them from the ones-who-follow into the sent-out-ones—that is from disciples into apostles.   They go as paupers, only the clothes on their back and the blessing of peace to give (vs. 5).  As laborers of the kingdom, they deserve food and board (vs. 7), but they are not to bargain for better deals (vs. 7).  These apostles say and do the same words and deeds as Jesus did.  They are to say, “The kingdom of God has come near to you” (vs. 9; cf. Mk. 1:15).  They are to heal the sick (vs. 9).  Everyone is given the word of the kingdom in their ears, even those who do not receive it or its messengers.  To those who neither receive the message or its messengers, the messengers are to shed even the dust of that town, showing its inhabitants the soles of their sandals as the messengers stalk out of it (vs. 11).  Jesus promises a fate worse than Sodom’s for that town’s inhabitants (vs. 12).  

While the Holy Spirit has yet to be poured out upon these disciples/apostles, throughout the history of God with his people, the Holy Spirit has always been the agent of faith.  To hear and believe that the kingdom of God has come near… to hear the word “peace,” and know that it rests upon your house… to hear, “Be healed!” and rest in the confidence that it is indeed true… to hear all these and have faith in a God who does not lie is indeed the work of the Holy Spirit.  Those who do not receive the message and its messengers deny… blaspheme… speak against… the Holy Spirit.  This rejection will not be forgiven (cf. Mt. 12:32).  The ones rejecting this word—the word of peace, healing, and the forgiveness of sins—cannot hear it in its efficacy and so do not receive the word’s benefits:  the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

As he concludes the sending, Jesus cements the authority conferred upon these seventy-two apostles.  They do not speak for themselves. They speak for Jesus (vs. 16).  To hear one of these apostles is to hear Jesus himself.  The sent-out-ones speak as Jesus Christ himself.  Thus, when one of them—and your preacher is just such a sort—says, “The kingdom of God has come near to you,” you can be confident you are hearing the voice of Christ himself who has come “for you.”

Table Talk:  Discuss how not receiving the word of forgiveness is unforgivable.
Pray:  Father, forgive me, hold me in that truth.  Amen

Luke 10:1-20 English Standard Version

After this the Lord 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. 2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. 7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. 9 Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.

16 “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”