Luke 10:2 (ESV) … “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
God brings a crossroads to every life. The great English founder of Methodism, John Wesley, reached his crossroads among Moravians in America. While at sea, they encountered a horrendous storm. Winds galed. Rains drenched. The ship floundered and threatened to come apart. John Wesley wondered what would happen next. Then he noticed the Moravian Christians sitting quietly, watching the storm. He asked how they could be so at peace when the world of nature seemed to have declared war. Their serene answer caught him off guard: “Why be disturbed? God will take care of us all.”
This experience led John Wesley to a Moravian prayer meeting in England. The sermon described the change God brings when a person truly trusts Jesus as Savior. Wesley faced his crossroads. Would he continue the life of fear and uncertainty? Or did he truly want that peace and serenity the Moravians demonstrated. He chose the latter, accepting Jesus as his Savior and heading down the road to becoming one of history’s great evangelistic preachers and leaders.
Luke 10 places Jesus’ disciples at the same crossroads. Can the commitment demanded in chapter 9 become reality in their lives? This is tested in several ways: on mission, in responding to Jesus’ revelation, in deciding whom they will love and minister to, and in deciding between the affairs of normal life and the demands of Jesus for cross bearing, self-denial, and Christ-focused discipleship.
Jesus was on mission, preaching the kingdom of God in the towns and villages (4:43–44). He was also on the way to Jerusalem to meet death (9:51). Time limitations prevented him from accomplishing the mission by himself. Even the Twelve could not do it all. That is why he had trained disciples. Now was the time to see how effective they were. He sent out seventy-two (or seventy, if other manuscripts are right), each with a partner, to prepare the way for his coming. That is what Christian mission is, preparation for Christ to come into lives, into towns, and finally to come again into this world. The first person sent to prepare the way for Jesus was John the Baptist. Herod executed John. Could others preparing Christ’s way expect better treatment?
Even seventy-two followers of Jesus could not complete the task. As Christ had told them to accept anyone in ministry who did not reject or oppose them (9:50), so he now asked them to pray for others to join forces with them to reap the harvest. Already in Christ’s ministry, the soil had begun to produce, and the harvest was ready (8:8, 15). Does this imply the mission of the Twelve had borne fruit (9:1–6)? Harvest does not wait. Either you reap it now, or it is ruined by weather or by withering. Not just anyone can harvest this field, though. God must select and send out the workers. He is the owner of the field who controls its destiny. His followers ask him to send help to finish the task. By this they imply they will accept whomever God sends. God sets the standards and job requirements. Disciples cannot be choosy about those whom God selects and sends.
Jesus demands more than listening to his teaching and agreeing with what he says. He places us at the crossroads of life and forces us to decide to live his way or the world’s way.