Luke's Missionary Church

A reading for Monday, May 18, 2015: Luke 9:51-62.

Luke 1:76... "And you child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way, to give God's people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins."

Luke 9:2... "and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick."

Luke 9:52... "And he sent messengers ahead of him."

Luke 10:1... "After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go."

Over and over in Luke's gospel, Jesus sends out messengers ahead of him to proclaim the kingdom of God. Even before he is born, Zechariah proclaims the mission of John to be sent. The disciples are sent. Jesus sets his face to go to Jerusalem and send messengers ahead. And then of course later is the sending of the seventy.

This is the image of the church for Luke. The church are all those that are sent ahead of Jesus to listen for, interpret, and proclaim the kingdom of God for others. For Luke the church is not a building or even a generalized people, but a particular group of Jesus followers that are sent ahead of Jesus to all the places where Jesus intends to go. The church is a group of travelers, or missionaries, on a journey ahead of Jesus.

How strange this sounds to us today? We have a different image in our minds about what the church is about, and who we are as God's people. How do we reconcile Luke's image with our own?

Luke 24:48-49... "You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised." 


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