The fourth key principle for kingdom advancement that we discovered in verses 5-9 of Luke 10 was
Meet all needs in the (sphere) household SUPER-NATURALLY (Verse 9a)
Ok, so when Luke explores the idea of needs, he is taking the purest foundation of what Jesus is instructing his no-name apostles to focus on doing, when they are invited to ‘stay’ with a household or people group. The needs in this language refers to anything that will bring contentment and well-being to the recipients. If ‘Jesus’ peace’ describes his fullness then meeting the needs is literally ‘imparting’ (i.e. through praying as the Spirit leads) Jesus’ favour, mercy, healing power, grace, (basically the fruit of the Spirit) to those who respond with a desire to receive Jesus ‘fully’ (i.e. people of peace).
This is simple but it goes way beyond the flesh to flesh caring that a human founded peace might describe.
Super-natural then discerns in the Spirit and empowers by the Spirit whilst the natural refers to humans, in this case the sent ones, submitting (under the mission) to the sender and carrying the sender’s name which is the doorway to receiving all that is IN Christ.
In verse 9b we get a glimpse of the fifth key principle for kingdom advancement.
In this way demonstrate and declare the kingdom of God IS near (verse 9b)
Luke uses the term near again in order to indicate 2 key things. Firstly, it is clear that if the sent ones are obedient to the sender and go where the sender is planning to follow (see Luke 10:1) then Jesus’ imminent arrival is the guarantee that needs will be met in a genuine way so that secondly, once the person of peace senses the touch of God, anything they ask for is going to look more like Jesus and less like something human beings have fabricated.
The transforming message of the kingdom gospel will hit its mark and change whole communities if and only if the demonstration of the kingdom portrays a clear picture of Christ and not something else.
It remains important to note that Luke uses chapters nine and ten to highlight the pivotal transition between mission that responds to a relationship with Jesus but still struggles with authority issues and mission which is engaged out of an ‘intimate’ relationship with Jesus and doesn’t question the authority that Jesus imparts to his missionary workers.
Reflection-Action 1 As you pray through reading this devotional reflection, what does the idea of peace as is described raise for you? Do you know this peace? Is there a time you can remember in some detail when you knew the peace you had was the sort of fulfilling Jesus’ type peace which seemed to operate beyond your human understanding? As you think about this, write down any thoughts you have about what conditions or principles were at work when it happened and how might you apply these principles for a more consistent sense of intimacy with Jesus.
Reflection-Action 2 First read Luke 10:38-42. Now, do the thoughts you reflected on in reflection-action 1 give you any greater sense of clarity when you read the familiar Mary and Martha story? Are human beings too caught up on appearances and the questionable expectations of those around us to clearly see the forest from the trees? The original disciples seemed aware of these issues when they were sent out but the 72 seemed oblivious but in reality didn’t lack in resolve or effort. What do you think and how could it helpfully apply to a body of people who are together carrying Jesus’ presence with the aim of making a difference in any given neighbourhood?
Reflection-Action 3 Next time you are asked or feel compelled (much better) to pray for someone, see if consciously allowing Jesus’ presence to flow through you makes any difference to the way you pray or the way the person seeking peace responds. If you are carrying ‘the kingdom of heaven is near’ imprimatur, expecting Jesus to ‘follow you’, it might just make a difference to the way you minister with and to people. Have a go and find someone you trust to debrief with.