God is near the Body of Christ

babyhugThere is a sense of urgency in the Gospel today as Jesus sends out this group of seventy(-two) disciples to prepare the way for him as he continues to make his pilgrimage journey to Jerusalem. He had already sent out the twelve apostles on mission at the beginning of the previous chapter (Luke 9:1); only this gospel records this second larger sending out. Using the principle of first mention, we perhaps are able to see something of the significance of the number seventy. In Genesis 10, we are told the origins of all the nations of the world, which in the Hebrew scriptures are numbered as seventy, and in the Greek translation are numbered seventy-two. So it is very likely that the Gentile Luke wants us to connect the mission of the seventy-two with the mission of the whole church, no longer confined to the people of a single nation, but now extended to the very ends of the earth. Next, in Exodus 24 there is the description of a group of seventy elders in Israel who are able to share in the presence of God on the mountain – and that there so happened to be another two who were not present and yet shared in the outpouring of the spirit. Finally, there were seventy members of the Sanhedrin.

So what then does the Church ‘s mission actually look like? What lessons can we learn from the instructions that Jesus gives to us today?

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Recorded at St Paul’s, 10am (9’41”) 

Setting our face towards the Lord

mowedpathThe Gospel of Luke begins and ends in Jerusalem. Until the Gospel today (from Luke 9:51-62) all the action has taken place with Jesus ministering around the area where he grew up – Galilee – in places such as Capernaum, the lake, Nain and Mount Tabor. But there is a decisive shift at the beginning of today’s gospel, when Jesus “sets his face resolutely towards Jerusalem”. It seems that the question that formed the heart of the Gospel last week – “who do you say I am?” which Peter answered on behalf of the other disciples with “the Christ of God” must have indicated to Jesus that the time to begin his final pilgrimage to the holy city had arrived.

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Recorded at Young Adults Weekend, Camp Laurence, Moogerah Dam (8’19”)

The Acts 7 Church

TheRoadLessTraveledThe speech that St Stephen gives in Acts 7 is the longest speech that St Luke records in the whole of the book – so clearly it is very significant for us. It reaches a climax shortly before the members of the Sanhedrin are so incensed by what Stephen says that they begin to pick up rocks (they always seem to be readily lying around in those days!) and condemn him to death. So let us listen to the word of God and allow the force of the story that Stephen tells carry us where the Lord would like to lead us today.

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Recorded at Young Adult Weekend, 29 June 2013, in Brisbane. (32’22”)