SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The chapter opens with Jesus appointing 72 other followers, in addition to the 12 disciples, to go and share the gospel message from town to town. He gives detailed instructions about what to do. He also reminds them that a rejection from the people is not personal; it is a rejection of God himself. Jesus also gives a stern warning to those who reject the message of God's kingdom. He says they are worse off than Sodom! Ouch. (You can read about Sodom in Genesis 18 and 19).
- In verse 17, the 72 people return to share stories of their travel. They are amazed at the power they were given by Jesus. They were able to heal people and drive out demons. Jesus sees that this power has gone to their heads a little bit. So, he warns them not to focus on power, but instead, be grateful for the opportunity to spend eternity in God's kingdom.
- Jesus shares a story of a Jewish man who is traveling and gets robbed and beaten. He is left by the side of the road to die. A priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan all pass by. However, the only one that helped the man was the Samaritan. This would have been shocking to the Jews as Samaritans were hated, considered evil, and nicknamed "dogs." Not only did the Samaritan care for the man, he went above and beyond what was necessary, paying all of his expenses.
- The chapter closes with Jesus visiting a small village. A young woman by the name of Martha invited him in. Martha was pre-occupied with cooking and cleaning the house to make it perfect for Jesus. However, her sister Mary sat in the living room and listened to Jesus speak. Martha reprimands her sister publicly for not lifting a hand and helping around the house. Jesus corrects Martha telling her that she is focusing on the wrong things, and that Mary will be rewarded for listening to God's Word.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- When people start following Jesus, Jesus sends them out to do ministry. We haven't heard about these 72 before, so they were probably relatively new followers. But Jesus was putting them into action anyway. Everyone who follows Jesus is called to serve people and do ministry.
- When we share Jesus with others and they do not accept the message, we cannot take it personally. They are not rejecting us, but Jesus who sent us. But when our friends do come to God, we should respond like Jesus and rejoice that they've come home into God's kingdom.
- The parable of the Good Samaritan reminds us that we need to love God with everything that we have, and everything we are. And, we need to love everyone, even our enemies. And finally, love is a verb. It takes action. The Good Samaritan's love met the practical needs of his "neighbor."
- We can become so busy with our daily to-do list that we can't be bothered to stop and spend time with Jesus daily. He reminds us that spending time in his Word is far more important than a clean house or errands completed.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Where are you currently serving as a volunteer in ministry? Even if you're somewhat new in following Jesus, you are still called to serve. If you'd like to start volunteering at Verve, you can sign up online.
- At Verve we talk about being "guerrilla lovers." The idea is that we need to ambush people with God's love, like the Good Samaritan did. Who has God put in your path that you can show some love to in the next 24 hours? Someone at work, in your neighborhood, at your school? What is a practical need you can meet in his or her life?