This is part four of a 5-part devotional series based on Luke 10:1-12 (See part one and two and three) It includes the reading of Scripture, considering its teaching, asking questions of ourselves for reflection, and applying it in practical ways. Enjoy.
Part 4: The Kingdom of God Is Near
Passage: Luke 10:9-11
Heal the sick who are there 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.
There are times when the people of God are not accepted. This is to be expected. At times it may be worth persevering through the dislike but at other times it’s not worth it. It’s time to move on.
Jesus encourages those he sends to heal the sick and say to the people ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ As Luke outlines in v1, Jesus will soon be following these workers and coming by the towns and villages they minister to. What is important is the message. The message that the kingdom is coming is to be made known to the people. How they respond will consequently be judged by God in the future. The message is to be made public, but so is the recognition that they have rejected this message. God’s workers will need to discern when it is appropriate to move on to other pastures. However, they will make it known that their rejection will be public, and the message is still the message.
But how do we show that the Kingdom of God is near? What are some practical examples that lead us to conclude that the Kingdom of God is working within others and in particular places?
One way to see God working in our lives, or in a particular place, is to look with intentionality at the various ‘communities of practice’ that operate in your life or the life of others.
These communities of practice are activities that naturally occur, and you may already be involved in, but become places where God can use you to share the message of the Kingdom. For example, you may be involved in a sporting club where your involvement can be a witness to others. To take it a step further you can be intentional about how you approach this activity. Rather than simply being there for the sport and fun it becomes a harvest field; where you are now one of the workers who are building authentic relationships with your teammates. There may be a person or peace there welcoming you into the club or team, and it is important to be on the lookout for a person like this. This type of intentionality is an important key in seeing the activities you do during the week as being part of being a witness as a follower of Jesus, drawing people closer to the Kingdom of God. This could also be how you understand your knitting club, your book club, your art class, your uni subjects, your school class, etc etc.
Jesus is making it clear that he has come to bring in the kingdom of God. He is following his sent workers and as he sends them he reveals to those in his hearing that he will bring this kingdom of God to the people, households, towns and villages that these 72 go to.
Judgement will come and for those who respond negatively to the message of Jesus, this Good News of the kingdom of God, will be found wanting. The judgement upon them will be worse than it was for Sodom in the Old Testament, where that city was destroyed because of its disobedience and active rejection of God and his ways (Genesis 19).
- There are times when moving on from relationships seems to be required if the mission of God is to be fulfilled. How do you think we can discern this in the relationships we have with others?
- God will judge those who hear the revelation of his kingdom. Whether they respond positively or negatively is not ours to judge, it is for God.
- People will accept and reject the Good News, this message of the kingdom. What stops us from sharing the message of the kingdom to others?
- God’s judgement will be full and forceful for those who reject him. Jesus has already said the harvest is plentiful, how can we be part of the solution? What can we be part of in order to help people from this judgement?
Take A Step:
- Write down on a piece of paper who and how you will share an aspect of your relationship with Jesus to someone in the next fortnight.
- Pray and seek God’s guidance on which relationships in your life need to be held loosely. Seek out a mature believer for their guidance in this matter.
- What part of your week is most like a ‘community of practice’? How could you be more intentional about your relationships and weekly activities for the work of the Kingdom?