Our Scripture reading covers two wonderful passages that are not only familiar to believers, but also known to many non-believers. The Gospel of Luke, chapter 10, records what is often referenced as a model for the Great Commission (Luke 10:1-20), addresses life’s most important question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”(10:25-29), and presents the Parable of the Good Samaritan (10:30-37).
The Gospel of John, chapter 10 is also a favorite of believers. Here Christ taught on the sheep and the shepherd, and introduced Himself as the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18). As you read both Luke 10 and John 10, remember Jesus’ appointment with the Cross is only six months in the future. Rather than an extended commentary, I will limit today’s devotional to a highlight of these well-known passages of Scripture.
John 10 – The Good Shepherd
Let’s remember chapter breaks and numbered verses have been added by men to assist in charting our way through the Scriptures. Sometimes chapter breaks interrupt the flow of a passage or event, and such is the case as we transition from John 9 to John 10. In other words, the context for understanding Jesus introducing Himself as the “Door” of the sheepfold (10:1), and the “Shepherd of the sheep” (10:2), is part of a continuing narrative that began in chapter 9.
In John 9, Jesus showed compassion on a blind man, and healed him (9:1-7). That chapter concluded with Jesus having searched for and found the man who had been blind (9:35a). When He found Him, Christ asked, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (9:35). The man responded, “Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?” (9:36). Christ then revealed Himself to the man, saying, “Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee” (9:37). The man confessed, “Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him” (9:38).
Now, the Pharisees, heard and witnessed the dialog between Jesus and the man who had been blind (9:39), and they surmised Christ considered them blind, not physically, but spiritually (9:40). What followed added to Jesus introducing Himself in chapter 9 as “the light of the world” (9:5). Jesus next told the Parable of the Good Shepherd (10:1-18), and announced, “11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (10:11).
Understanding John 10 is well known to most, I will save a thorough commentary for another time.
Luke 10 – Pray for Laborers!
Scripture reading – Luke 10
Luke 10 began with Jesus appointing “seventy” (i.e. seventy disciples), and sending them out “two and two…into every city and place, whither he himself would come” (10:1). The number of disciples sent out, being seventy, no doubt surprises some believers. There were many who followed Jesus, besides the Twelve He had called to be His disciples. Consider the verses that preceded the commissioning of the seventy (Luke 9:57-62), and be reminded not all who followed Jesus were sincere believers.
Having chosen seventy disciples out of the multitude that followed Him, Jesus instructed them to go before Him, two by two, into every city and village where He would soon come and minister (10:1). He then challenged the seventy with the spiritual need of those among whom they would labor (10:2).
Luke 10:2 – 2Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
Those sent out were challenged with the image of the opportunity (“The harvest [of needy souls] truly is great” – 10:2a), the magnitude of the need (“but the labourers [preachers and teachers of the Truth] are few” – 10:2b), and the challenge to do something every believer is compelled to do: “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest” (10:2c).
Knowing He was within months of the Cross, there was an urgency for the Gospel to be taken far and wide throughout the villages and cities of Israel (Matthew 9:37-38). Though the opportunity to reach lost souls was stunning, the reality was few would be willing to take the Gospel to them. John wrote in His Gospel: “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields [of lost souls]; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).
Closing thoughts – What can a believer do in the face of so great a need of lost souls? “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest” (10:2c). Pray for laborers. Pray for men and women who will dedicate their lives to serve the LORD, and take the Gospel.
Pray with urgency, knowing “the harvest truly is great” (10:2a). Pray with fervency, for “the laborers are few”(10:2b). Pray perpetually, until the LORD answers your prayer and sends forth laborers (preachers, teachers, and missionaries) who will faithfully sow the seed of the Gospel.
As you pray, ponder the question: Are you willing to go?
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