Luke 10:1-12 (ESV)
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. 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. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. 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. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘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.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
This is similar to the earlier sending out of the twelve. The ministry is expanding. Jesus starts out by noting the great need for further expansion and He tells them to pray for more workers. This establishes the pattern for all Christian evangelism.
Verse six can be confusing. And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. What’s a son of peace? What does it mean when the peace rests upon him and what does it mean if it returns? Verse seven begins with, “And remain in the same house.” Does that mean they’re supposed to stay there even if their peace bounces?
The last question is answered by a parallel verse in Matthew. No, don’t stay at a house where your peace returns. The reference to the same house just means, “Only stay in one house.”
And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. – Matt. 10:11-13 (ESV)
The other issues involve Greek idioms. The word translated as “son” can mean follower or disciple. The Greek word for peace means “shalom” (peace/welfare/health). Modern scholars are unsure of the exact meaning, but the bottom line is clear in context. (I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.)
They will get a very hostile reception in some places.
When their peace bounces, they’ll know it.
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. The local non-denominational ministries (Reformed University Fellowship, Young Life, Campus Outreach, Campus Crusade for Christ, and many others) covet your prayers.
They’re missionaries to our country, which needs the gospel at least as much as the places we send foreign missionaries to. In the “Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth” scheme of things, we’re the ends.
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