Christmas to Calvary — December 10


The Seventy-Two Appointed and Sent Out

And after these things, the Lord also appointed seventy-two others and sent them out two by two before him into every town and place where he was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest that he send out workers into his harvest. Go! Behold, I am sending you out like lambs in the midst of wolves! Do not carry a money bag or a traveler’s bag or sandals, and greet no one along the road. And into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this household!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the worker is worthy of his pay. Do not move from house to house. And into whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat whatever is set before you, and heal the sick in it, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But into whatever town you enter and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you! Nevertheless know this: that the kingdom of God has come near!’ I tell you that it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town!

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes! But it will be more bearable for Tyre and for Sidon in the judgment than for you! And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No! You will be brought down to Hades! The one who listens to you listens to me, and the one who rejects you rejects me. But the one who rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

And the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” So he said to them, “I saw Satan falling like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you the authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will ever harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are inscribed in heaven.”

Jesus Rejoices and Prays

At that same time he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to young children. Yes, Father, for this was pleasing before you. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wants to reveal him.”

And turning to the disciples, he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

And behold, a certain legal expert stood up to test him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do so that I will inherit eternal life?” And he said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” And he answered and said, “You shall love the Lord your God from all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”

But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” And Jesus replied and said, “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who both stripped him and beat him. After inflicting blows on him, they went away, leaving him half dead. Now by coincidence a certain priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. And in the same way also a Levite, when he came down to the place and saw him, passed by on the opposite side. But a certain Samaritan who was traveling came up to him and, when he saw him, had compassion. And he came up and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine, and he put him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And on the next day, he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him, and whatever you spend in addition, I will repay to you when I return.’ Which of these three do you suppose became a neighbor of the man who fell among the robbers?” So he said, “The one who showed mercy to him.” And Jesus said to him, “You go and do likewise.”

Martha and Mary

Now as they traveled along, he entered into a certain village. And a certain woman named Martha welcomed him. And she had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the feet of Jesus and was listening to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much preparation, so she approached and said, “Lord, is it not a concern to you that my sister has left me alone to make preparations? Then tell her that she should help me!” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things! But few things are necessary, or only one thing, for Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Questions for Reflection:

  • The first two sections provide five actions to reach others for Christ. Which of these are strengths for you? Which are weaknesses?

  • Do you have a specific plan for praying for workers to enter the harvest? If not, how can you organize your prayer life to pray to reach the nations and the ends of the earth for Christ and for those working toward that effort?

  • What are ways you can “go and do likewise” following the example of the Good Samaritan? In your community? In your church?

  • Do you identify most with Martha or Mary? If Martha, how will you become less busy and more often at his feet? So often, the Christmas season can become easily cluttered and overly busy; how can Jesus’ words to Martha help prioritize the activities we need over more busy-ness?

Live-the-Word Challenge:

What is an act of service you can do this week that will give you no opportunity for glory or recognition? Look for an opportunity to be a neighbor like the Good Samaritan or complete a task that you have noticed that “somebody” needs to do – either way, try to do something that does not get you recognition from others.

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