Jesus concluded His ministry in Galilee, but more important, He was seeking disciples. Here we are given a glimpse into Jesus’s constant task of recruiting disciples and challenging them to give up their ambitions and follow Him.
Though many (or most?) were focused on their own interests and walked away from Jesus’s challenge to them (Luke 9:57–61), He told them, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God” (9:61). Half-hearted commitments never last.
Before His final trip to Jerusalem, Jesus selected seventy-two disciples for this final mission. Jesus had been training these men and others, along with the Twelve. Tradition indicates that they became church leaders.
This group (Luke 10:1) of seventy-two “others” means a “different, not the same,” group—one that did not include the Twelve. Is this the ministry model we should follow? Rather than expecting people to wait for a mystical feeling, we should take the initiative and follow the model of Jesus to challenge people to give up their lives for Him and then personally train our own disciples in ministry.
On their first mission to bring in the “harvest, ” this first group of disciples was taught to pray for more “workers” as they began to experience the immensity of the task of sharing the “good news” of the Savior of the world.
Yet today, the vast non-Christian populations (two-thirds of the world) receive virtually no message of Jesus’s sacrifice from any of Christ’s disciples. Is there a correlation between praying for laborers and people being willing to become disciples and engage in personal ministry? Whom are we praying for? Do we pray daily that God will lead us to someone to challenge for discipleship?
There are approximately two thousand unreached people groups speaking languages that no Christians speak. Someone must learn their languages and strange cultures and take the risk of going to tell them the gospel.
Do they deserve a chance to hear the gospel? “Certainly,” yet our real answer is betrayed by how little we pray for “workers” to go, by how little we care for people who have never heard, and how little we help those who are going. Be warned: as you pray for workers, you may be asking God to send you!
“Dear Lord, there is still much work to be done in getting the gospel to the last people groups. I want to be obedient, and I ask You to send laborers around the world to accomplish that task. ‘Here am I, send me.’” (Isa 6:8)