Intro: Recently, John and I took a short trip to Utah. While there, we had a fleeting encounter with a farmer from Minnesota who provides produce for the Del Monte Company. He said farming had drastically changed over this past year and it was harder and harder for them to hire sufficient workers or to purchase additional equipment due to rising costs. I know very little about farming, but this gentleman told us about a small window of opportunity to harvest when the spring and fall fields are ripe. Multiple times he expressed the urgency for workers at harvest time. It made me think.
Jesus taught much about the urgency of the spiritual harvest. In Luke 10:1, Jesus decides to appoint seventy people—36 teams of two—to work the salvation fields in the towns he would later visit. Jesus told his workers, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Luke 10:2). Not only were these teams of workers to go and to pray, they were to go with a kind and gracious heart, because they would face challenges and opposition (Luke 10:3). As well, these disciples were to trust God to provide everything for them (Luke 10:7). These workers were to preach about God’s Kingdom and to heal people. Jesus knew healing the people would authenticate the Kingdom message (Luke 10:8). Every instruction Jesus provides points to the shortness of time and the urgency of the work for the Kingdom harvest.
Our reading for today picks up in verse 13 with Jesus explaining to these harvest workers what will happen to the people who reject their message—the unbelievers. Chorazin was a city near the Sea of Galilee [2 miles north of Capernaum] where Jesus spent a great deal of time. Jesus fed the five thousand near Bethsaida (Luke 9:10-17). In fact, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum made up what scholars call the Evangelical triangle; three Jewish cities in which Jesus performed most of his miracles. Tyre and Sidon were Gentile regions where Jesus taught, as well. When Jesus used these two cities in his message, he was highlighting the way the Jewish people in the other three refused him. The Jews failed to see Jesus as God with them, so they refused to listen to his urgent call for them to repent and be God’s representatives to the nations. Our take away must be that Jesus expects his Word to be taught, believed, and put into practice.
As Christ’s present day disciples, we need to see ourselves as part of the seventy people sent out. We are responsible to share the gospel of God’s Kingdom that is near and pray for God to send more workers. Because he is coming to reap the harvest of souls, there is a shortness of time and an urgency for the work. We are to be filled with Christ’s righteous Spirit and about our Father’s business of redemption. As we tell others about the love of Christ and his work for salvation, we cannot leave out the message of a coming judgment. To refuse Christ is to refuse the eternal life offered by the Father.
Luke 10:13-16 The Unbelieving Towns
13 Jesus said, “How terrible it will be for you, Chorazin! How terrible for you too, Bethsaida! If the miracles which were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have long ago sat down, put on sackcloth, and sprinkled ashes on themselves, to show that they had turned from their sins! 14 God will show more mercy on the Judgment Day to Tyre and Sidon [two cities considered extremely wicked] than to you. 15 And as for you, Capernaum! Did you want to lift yourself up to heaven? You will be thrown down to hell!”
16 Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
Prayer: Lord, I pray for you to send more workers to us for the harvest fields. Help us to trust you for provision, stir our hearts for the lost, and empower us to heal the broken and sick. Please don’t let us as your representatives waste this precious time we have been given to bring your saving grace to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.