What You Say and How You Go

My friend Andy made this genius point as we were looking at Luke 10 the other night. In that passage, Jesus was sending out the 70 (or 72, depending on which version you’re reading from) as representatives of the kingdom of God. Here’s the message He gave them to proclaim:

1. “The kingdom of God has come near you.”

But here’s the other instructions about the way they were supposed to go:

1. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest.

2. Don’t carry luggage.

3. Don’t greet anyone along the road.

4. Stop at the first house you come to.

5. Offer a word of peace there.

6. Remain at that house

7. Eat what is set before you.

8. Heal the sick.

9. If you’re not welcome, move on.

Anyone else notice the discrepancy there? There’s 1, simple statement of message but at least 9 specific instructions on the method of delivery or the process of going. That’s so interesting to me because any “evangelism training” I’ve ever been a part of has just the reverse. There’s emphasis on apologetics, or diagrams, or tough questions, or perfecting your testimony, or whatever. And just the one word of “Go.” In short, the message gets all the play and the method of going is pretty much left up for debate.

So why did Jesus give a message so simple but spend so much time on the process in going?

Here’s one thought – perhaps there’s not meant to be any separation in the two. Maybe in Jesus’ mind, He wasn’t saying, “Here’s how you’re supposed to go,” then saying, “And here’s what you’re supposed to say;” maybe Jesus was saying only, “This is what you are supposed to do.”

The way we go, the way we talk, the way we eat, the way we interact with our neighbors – these things are our message. By them we proclaim the kingdom of God.

What do you think?

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  • Daryl says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. The way we go about our lives is a greater testimony to many than what we say or how we word it. We’re so used to the talking heads that tell us what we’re supposed to think or say or do, but when someone SHOWS us those things and demonstrates it for us, it’s much different.
    We’re accustomed to seeing the hypocrites loudly portrayed in the media, those who proclaim Christ one way on Sunday morning and then are discovered to be living antithetical to their message by Tuesday. So when the message and the life agree with one another, it’s unusual.

  • Cory says:

    I agree as well. I think many times those in Christian circles (myself included) get caught up in the talk, the method, the material, that we easily forget that the gospel is not as complicated as we make it. When you hear of the work of missionaries or historical spiritual movements, rarely do we hear that they went and taught this method-this theology-this material. We hear of the lives changed by the simple act of conveying the truth. I’m not saying some of these things are not important. I’m just saying that when people are hurting or seeking answers they don’t ask, tell me about your theology (as if many if know what theology is)…they simply ask what is this hope you have and how can I have it? And this is where our actions and faith go hand in hand in the presentation of the gospel.

  • Pete says:

    There are a number of rapidly growing movements around the world that are happening because field workers started applying these principles to their contexts. Paul repeats this example throughout Acts as well. The whole goal of these texts and the method Jesus was putting forth here is to find the man/woman of peace. That’s the person who God has already been working on and preparing to hear. When that person hears (and responds), their whole oikos hears (and many respond). This was not the “relational EV” approach. That’s not to say that relational EV is bad – I think it is very appropriate, but it is not actually a model we see strongly advocated in the Word.

  • Michael K. says:

    Thanks for your comments, everybody.

    Pete – I’m really interested in what you’re saying about “the man of peace.” Can you write a little more about how that works? What exactly are you looking for and hoping to find there?

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