Luke 9:62 No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.
The only way to plow a straight row, back then, was to focus on an object across the field. As long as you kept your focus, your row would be straight. If you looked anywhere else, your row would bend. Jesus wants us to keep our focus on him, and not look back on the world we have left behind. Our life will be straight as long as we focus on Christ.
A father was teaching his son how to plow a field, and told him to gaze at a post on the other side. Half way there, the son wanted to see how he was doing, so he looked back and saw that his row was straight. Then he wondered if his row was still straight, so he looked back again, and saw that it was crooked where he had looked back before. Then he wondered if he did it again, so he looked back a third time, and saw another bend. By the time he finished the row, there were several bends from each time he looked back. That is how it is whenever we take our eyes off Christ.
Luke 10:2 The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
The harvest metaphor compares the world to a field of grain in which every person is a stalk. It was a powerful metaphor in Jesus’ day because many people were farmers, and few things were more important than bringing in the harvest.
More recently, a farmer called his pastor with a frantic prayer request, because he needed to bring in the harvest before it rained. The grain was already cut, and if it got wet, it would rot. The farmer was going to town, to find additional workers, who usually stood at the corner until noon. But it was past noon, and the farmer begged his pastor to pray that he would find enough workers to bring in the harvest. This is the kind of urgency the church should have about harvesting souls for Christ.
Luke 10:2b Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
The kingdom of God has always been understaffed. The need is so great that we must always pray for additional workers. On most days about two people die every second. That’s about a hundred twenty people a minute, or seventy-two hundred people an hour. On any given day, about a hundred seventy two thousand souls slip into eternity, many of them unbelievers. If it is tragic to lose a harvest of grain, how much worse to loses a harvest of souls?
Luke 10:3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
To be a lamb in a pack of wolves is not something that most sheep would sign up for. Jesus was telling his disciples that they should expect to die. In fact, the number of Christian martyrs is higher than most people realize. About three believers are killed every day just for believing in Christ. And more Christians were martyred in the last century than in all previous centuries combined.
A young man was recently shot to death because of his newfound faith in Christ. When his old friends could not win him back to his previous lifestyle, they put a bullet through his heart. The young man could have lived by walking away from Jesus, but he was not afraid to die because he had eternal life. That is how Christianity works. We give Jesus our present life, and he gives us eternal life.
Luke 10:9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, The kingdom of God has come near to you.
Jesus gave his disciples power to heal the sick so their message would have more credibility. This still happens today, especially where the gospel is little known.
A woman from India was in chronic pain for about three years. She could barely sleep at night, and neither could her family, because of her crying. Then a missionary arrived, and after he shared the gospel, he prayed that she would be healed. She slept peacefully that night, and the following morning she and her family believed. By the end of the day, seventeen others believed, and a church was born.
Luke 10:10-11 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you.
Wiping dust from the feet was a way of saying, We have absolutely nothing in common. The disciples were responsible for delivering the message, but not for the people’s response. It was not their job to convince the people, or beg them to believe. The gospel needs to be proclaimed, but the response is up to those who hear.
When a certain man wanted eternal life, Jesus told him to give away his wealth and follow him. The man should have been delighted, but he went away sad because he was so rich (Mark 10:21-22). Jesus did not lower his price, run after the man, or ask him to reconsider. God wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), and invites us to be saved, but does not beg anyone to be saved. God votes for us, the devil votes against us, and we must cast the deciding vote.
Luke 10:12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
Sodom was so wicked that God destroyed it by raining down burning sulfur (Genesis 19:24). But those who reject the gospel will be punished even more severely on the day of God’s judgment. That day will be darkness, not light (Amos 5:18). That day will be a day of wrath—a day of distress and anguish (Zephaniah 1:15). [T]hat day will close on you suddenly like a trap (Luke 21:34). That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire (2 Peter 3:12).
Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! (Matthew 7:22-23).
Throughout the Bible, the two days that matter most are this day and that day. If you do not spend this day getting ready for that day, then this day will be held against you on that day. But if you spend this day getting ready for that day, then that day will be a day to rejoice.
Reflection and Review
Why is evangelism urgent?
Why is evangelism dangerous?
How can we use this day to get ready for that day?