I think we all would agree that Jesus lived a life on mission while he was here! He didn't just aimlessly wander through life. He had a purpose, he had a mission and he was effective at it! Jesus himself stated his purpose quite clearly during a conversation he had with Zacchaeus the chief tax collector from Jericho. In that conversation Jesus said about himself, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." In this post we are going to look at 5 Principles that we find from Jesus and his missional activity.
"After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house." Luke 10:1-7 (NIV)
PRINCIPLE #1: He Had A Vision That Guided Him (v. 2)
Jesus had a vision of a harvest field that was plentifully ripe and ready to be harvested. He didn't just see a few people ready to surrender their hearts and lives over to his care and control but a whole harvest field just waiting to be picked.
How do you view your mission field? Do you see people willing and ready to surrender their hearts over to Christ or do you see resistant people fighting God. I think that many times our own personal perception of situations is the biggest hinderances. If we think people are going to be resistant then that's what we are going to find.
Jesus using this same image, fields ripe for harvest, gives the explanation why he consider them ready for salvation. Look at what He says in Matthew 9:36,37;
"Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."
Jesus described people who were ripe for harvest as being people who were "distressed", "dispirited" and aimlessly wandering like "sheep without a shepherd'. Let me ask you: In your community do you find a lot of people who are distressed? Who are dispirited? And how wander around without any real direction in life? If you answered "yes" then you have a Spiritually Ripe Harvest Field.
GET THE VISION - VIEW YOUR COMMUNITY READY TO COME TO JESUS
PRINCIPLE #2: Prayed For God To Provide.
In both Luke 10 and in Matthew 9 Jesus mentioned the major roadblock to bringing in the ripe harvest. He said the roadblock wasn't enough workers. Jesus solution to this problem was not to guilt, bagger or twist the arm of people to get involved. No. Jesus' solution was to "pray to the Lord of the Harvest" to send more workers.
The only one who can get the right workers into the harvest field is God. It is God's responsibility to employ and deploy the workers! Our job is to relentlessly to faithfully be in the harvest field making more disciples for Christ and praying for God to get us more help by raising up more workers.
How often are you praying for God to raise up, train up and unleash more harvesters to join us in the work? Do you even think that Jesus was serious about this prayer or do you think He was just speaking figuratively?
PRINCIPLE #3: He Used Teams To Pursue His Mission.
Jesus sent the 72 out in teams of two. He also sent the 12 out in teams of two. Throughout the Gospels we see teams of 2 to 3 going out by the Lord's instruction. At times we see Peter, James and John. Other times we just see Peter and John. In the book for Acts we see Paul and Barnabas and the examples could go on and on.
Who makes up your team of pursuing Christ's mission? Are you trying to do all alone? Who are the people you know you can cast a vision of Christ's mission and see if they would like to form a team with you in doing ministry?
PRINCIPLE #4: HE LOOKED FOR GOD PREPARED PEOPLE.
In verses 5-7 we see Jesus telling the 72 to look for a "Person of Peace". This is a person whom God has prepared and ready to receive the Gospel. In John 5:19 Jesus said that he could do noting on his own but only what he sees the Father doing and whatever he sees the Father doing he also does. In other words Jesus was looking for the Person of Peace, the person that God the Father has prepared to receive the Good News.
This is to be our approach as well. We are not on mission to convince people they need Christ. We are on mission to find those that God has already prepared to receive Christ. I got to tell you this one principle really takes the pressure off us once we realized we are just to join God in the work He has already started.
PRINCIPLE #5: ONCE JESUS FOUND THE HOUSE OF PEACE HE THEN DISCIPLED THE WHOLE HOUSEHOLD.
In Acts 10:44 and Acts 16 we read about a Gentile by the name of Cornelius and a jail guard in Philippi that came to faith in Christ. But not just them! The Bible also says that "they and their household" believed and were baptized. This was true also with Jesus. When Jesus reached Peter, Peters entire household came to faith, including his mother-in-law, who was healed by Jesus. When Jesus reached the Samaritan Woman at the well; it says that she went back to her village and reach them for Jesus.