Dear Friends,

A   In the middle of next month we have been planning an Invitation Week
(March 17-24) and the flyer – which we hope to deliver in early March.

Please keep this in your personal and group prayers – this is our attempt to build a bridge with our community and we have asked some very capable people to help us Monday to Friday.

B   Jesus and Visitation (thoughts on Luke 10:1-24)

  • This visitation in 35 groups of two is unique to Luke.
  • He sends people in groups of two for accountability and witness to the truth.
  • The harvest belongs to the “Lord” – how good to know it is His not ours!
  • He sends them to “go” – but because it is too big a job– and so to “pray” as well.
  • The work is not easy – they go as lambs among wolves.  Jesus is a realist.
  • They are to take no purse, (extra?) sandals – nor are they to greet people on the way!
  • This means dependent on God Himself
  • This means focussed on the job to be done
  • This mission is to homes – not to street corners or ‘churches’
  • The greeting is first and foremost “peace” (The Hebrew is “shalom” – the Greek is “irene”)
  • If they receive a welcome they should stay where they are – a good base has been offered and there is no need to look elsewhere
  • The ministry is to “heal the sick” (literally to “help the weak”) and to announce the “Kingdom of God has come near” (It’s available)
  • The response to the disciples is a reflection of the response to Jesus and the Father who sent them.
  • The disciples “returned” with joy. (This word “return” is a favourite of Luke’s – returning to God is very precious – he uses it 32 times and Matthew, Mark and John never use it!)
  • They have gone out in weakness – they return with joy. (How often is this the case)
  • Jesus saw “Satan fall” as they did their work.  This seems to mean “the beginning of the end” for Satan – soon the cross would take his control and soon his destruction would finally come.
  • The disciples are told not to build their own joy on “success” but on their “names written in heaven” (Luke 10:20)
  • Jesus rejoices that the Father is in charge of the hiding (from some) and revealing (to some).
  • Jesus claims to be inclusive (“all things have been committed to Him”) and exclusive (only He reveals the Father)
  • Then Jesus utters a “Beatitude of Privilege” telling His disciples that they see Him – the Old Testament prophets and kings did not – and we “see” Him in the New Testament portrait.
  • Here is encouragement for our invitation week!

C   Next Saturday Gerard, Luke and Peter (Blair) will become Rev O’Brien, Rev Shooter and Rev Blair. May God bless and keep using them.

Simon Manchester