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The amazing Luke 10 journey

For the last 20 years or so, I’ve been challenged by a Scripture that’s so incredible, I’m tempted to discount it as being utterly impractical for our modern times. But I can’t help myself – I keep coming back to the account of Jesus sending out his disciples to places they’d never been with a me…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
For the last 20 years or so, I’ve been challenged by a Scripture that’s so incredible, I’m tempted to discount it as being utterly impractical for our modern times. But I can’t help myself – I keep coming back to the account of Jesus sending out his disciples to places they’d never been with a message they’d only recently heard, and authority they’d never tested. You can read about it in Luke 9 and 10 or Matthew 10. Jesus starts off saying:
As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff;
When we send out our World Racers, we send them with a backpack and some money in the bank. In contrast, here was the disciples packing list:
 
No money
No traveler’s bag
No change of clothes
No shoes
No walking stick
 
And what do you suppose the disciples were thinking as they contemplated the ministry assignment Jesus gave them? Just imagine you’re on a mission trip with Jesus as the leader and he tells you you’re going to:
 
preach the kingdom of God
heal the sick
raise the dead
cure those with leprosy
cast out demons
 
I’d be Joe Pesci, “OK, OK, hang on, a second here! Did you say, raise the dead? What’s that about??” But Jesus doesn’t pause for Q&A with the disciples. While their eyes are still crossing, he goes on to give them a risk assessment:
  • But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues.
  • You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers.
  • When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. 
  • A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child,
  • Children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed
  • And all nations will hate you because you are my followers.
  • When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next.
  • But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. 
  • Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. 
What would your response to this be? Here you’re told to do crazy, supernatural stuff like bringing dead people back to life, yet you’re told to leave everything you own behind. And in case you’re thinking, “If I try to do that stuff, I’m surely going to create a ruckus,” he confirms your deepest concerns: “Not only will you create a ruckus, but it’s going to be embarrassing and painful and you may die.”
 
Well, that’s comforting. But not exactly how we do business in the 20th century.
 
When I think about them sitting around, this motley crew that had done nothing of consequence so far, I imagine there must have been some pushback when Jesus finished his instructions. Of course we don’t read about that. But it can’t have been easy for them to swallow – not Thomas, not Judas, not the ever-inquisitive Peter.
 
God is still asking us to do the impossible today and live to tell about it. Yesterday one of our teams was held up at gunpoint in Tanzania and robbed of everything they own. And we had done what Jesus said – found the man of peace and were in his compound at the time. That kind of thing scares me to death and makes me want to stop sending young people to countries where danger lurks. I want  to play it safe.
 
But, then there is this Scripture and this story of what this guy who I’ve made Lord of my life did with his disciples. And if I’m to be serious about my commitment, I can’t duck and run. So, here’s where I come out: Instead of engaging in risk arbitrage, more of us need to allow him to throw us into the deep end so that we can begin to see how amazing it is when he provides for us in that place.
 
[I’m serious about testing Jesus in this. If you’re interested in exploring with me what that might look like – let me know. I’ll send you a Luke 10 Manual and introduce you to some others who are saying, “Here am I, send me.” Somehow, we’re going to do this and I’d like to begin next year, perhaps in SE Asia.]
 

Comments (29)

  • This one speaks to my soul today and just reconfirms some things I’ve been feeling and learning lately. Thanks!

  • My, my, my… another invitation to die. I felt like saying, “Here am I, but send them.”

    You scare me Seth.

  • Hey Seth, so the long and the short of this is I almost did exactly this in Guatemala last summer, but my buddy couldn’t come down and I didn’t feel like going it alone (that’s not what Jesus said anyway.)

    I actually have a couple of friends who did it in Northwest Africa for a night and what happened was pretty sweet.

    Anyway, I’m not sure what this next year holds but I’m at least interested in finding out more.

  • Seth, one of the thigs I admire about you most is that you don’t back down and you don’t give up on anybody.

    You read the Word and you stand on it no matter what gets thrown at you.

    Stand firm on that revelation! Do not back down at any cost.

    I was just reading in Judges today about Isreal going to fight against the currupt Benjamites. They asked God and He said go. But the firt two times they went, they got slaughtered. But they asked again and He still said go, so they went and God gave them victory.

    The thing that really challanged me about that account is that even thought they inquired of God, and He sent them into battle, they suffered massive casualties and seemed to loose. Not once, but twice. But God said go, so they went a third time before God showed His hand and gave them the victory.

    You have been given a very high calling, and you know that. God has put a lot of young people under you command, and you are being called to send them out into battle with no promise that they will not suffer casualties along the way. BUT GOD…
    But God steps in as His plans dictate and brings the victory.

    Thank you for having the courage and the passion to answer that calling, and the obedience to continue pressing forward even when our army suffers casualties.

  • Seth these posts are always motivating and remind me through the years of various inspirational evangelists and youth speakers who would rouse interest in “forsaking it all for the call” decisions.

    Typically Saturday night fervor gives way to Monday morning inertia unless one if purposeful to pull the nests of comfort apart.

    Some of the early explorers burned their ships upon arriving to the New World so as to make it clear there was no going back.

    We do well to consider the equivalent acts today.

    We cannot offer the world something we do not possess and “living light” is something one practices.

    Appreciate the prod.

    Blessings friend…

  • Judith,

    I hear you and the angst here. I don’t know. I think it’s more like the story the grandma in “Parenthood” tells about the roller coaster than it is like Steve Martin’s view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATUvyJNvFk0

    Or to use another movie, “Steel Magnolias,” Dolly Parton says, “My favorite emotion is laughter through tears.”

  • Seth, I’ve read this several times today. Among other things, I’ve been praying for you & the team as the stolen items and possibly documents get sorted out. Let me know if there is anything specific to pray for & if you/they need anything else.

    (Selling it all and “going” has been on my heart for years…don’t know how, where, or it what capacity, but it will be at least a year. Who knows?)

  • I’m with Sue on this – there is nothing so exhilarating as knowing God worked through you to help someone else SEE Him, experience Him, know Him more. When we finish Beauty for Ashes retreats, I’m on a high with rejoicing at what God has done (often IN SPITE of me and all my personal inadequacies 🙂 – and I suspect the disciples were the same way when they came back from this little extreme road trip. Somehow I think this is what Jesus promised when He said we would have life and have it more abundantly – sure, there is pain, suffering, hardships and all the rest… but the joy of seeing what a mighty and magnificent GOD does outweighs it all… how else could Paul and Silas sing hymns of praise while shackled in prison?

  • I am finding we do best when we listen more than talk and take the “fellowship of suffering” as a literal state of being and not a concept. That is how we end up blessing the broken roads that lead us back to Him.

  • Wow. This is good. When I was in the DR on an Ambassador trip, I woke up in the middle of the night and heard “Luke 10”. I looked it up immediately trying to decifer what God was trying to say. I got some out of it them, but I’ve been reading it daily, asking God what He is trying to tell me, soaking up every word.

    Still two things stick out when He says:
    – Go and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves
    -Don’t rejoice because demons listen to you, but rejoice because your names are written in the book of life!

    I’m interested and would love to hear anything else on this!

  • OK, given that you have been reading my blogs for 4 years and you love God, I will do that now. I’m sending you an email.

  • Seth, I have only been looking at your blog for about a month now (thanks to my wife). I’ve been truly enjoying what you have to offer to the body!

    This post is not just “thought provoking”, but something that we all need to gain more understanding in. I believe a time is coming when He will speak these things to us again, and only our “real” relationship with Him will cause us to be able to follow through with what He’s telling us.

    Buckle up, ’cause it’s surely coming.

  • I struggle today to die even more to my idea of what my life should be.
    After years of suffering and dying out to my plans, desires, and pleasures, I sometimes think I deserve a break.
    That there should be a just reward in the here and now.
    That I should be able to enjoy life for a spell.
    Be happy.
    Have a good time.
    Apparently, that’s not in the cards.
    Truthfully, it never has been.
    And, I doubt it ever will be.
    When will I wake up and just accept that?
    When will I be so dead to myself and my ideas of happiness and normalcy that I no longer expect or even want anything but to suffer for Him.
    These are the questions I ask myself today.
    There has been very little laughter in my life for weeks.
    But, laughter is over-rated, fun superficial, and happiness may be the inalienable right of an American, but not the Christ follower.
    Thanks, Seth, for calling it as it is.
    This life of following Christ is not a barrel of laughs nor a fun ride at a carnival.
    One of these days I’ll fully get that to the point that I embrace rather than push it away.
    Until then, I just cling to Him and endure…for the hope that all of this has purpose in HIs kingdom…
    I am His slave and His bond-servant.
    I have no life except His.
    And He was and is the Suffering Savior.
    Today I beg Him for “the JOY set before Him” that gave Him the strength to suffer all the way to the Cross.
    Judith

  • Seth,

    I absolutely agree with you! God still wants to do miraculous work through us today; we simply need to listen. I wrote a blog today about “The Heavenly Man” and the persecution that this man endured; it was catastrophic!!! We as Christians must expect persecution, no matter what form in which it comes.

    The challenge you left at the end of your blog; I want in! Please send me more info, this is exactly what I have been looking and praying for lately.

    Thank you for your amazing blogs. They always bring encouragement and challenge me to do more in my walk with God.

    Philip C.

  • Seth,

    Thank you for hearing me. Sometimes just being heard meets a real need. When another human being hears us, it recalls to mind His listening/hearing heart.

    The humor and truth of the link were also appreciated. I know all about Grandma’s roller-coaster. There is no doubt I am one to choose the roller-coaster over the merry-go-round…and always have been.

    Blessings, friend…
    Judith

  • “To ‘drink the cup’ was a greater thing than calming the seas or raising the dead. Bearing burdens daily that are always difficult, and never seeing relief; finding yourself worn down by poverty while simply desiring to do good for others; being shackled by an incurable physical disability; being alone, separated from those you love, to face the trauma of life alone; yet in all these, still being able to say through such a difficult school of discipline, ‘Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’…this is faith at its highest, and spiritual success at its crowning point.

    Great faith is exhibited not so much in doing, as in suffering.”

    Charles Parkhurst in “Streams in the Desert”

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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