At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” Luke 10:21
Jesus had chosen seventy two men to go into the villages where He was planning to go, to prepare the way for Him. They were to heal and deliver people from demons and to announce the presence of God’s kingdom.
What if Jesus had called and trained Pharisees to be His disciples? What if He had given them authority to do what these men had just done? What if they had gone around driving out demons and curing diseases? Would it have made them more arrogant than they were, more insufferably stuck-up than they already appeared to be? Would they have prided themselves on their spirituality and taken credit for what they had done?
But He didn’t. He chose men who had failed “Rabbi School” – religious losers who had no qualifications to have spiritual “authority”, men who were so ordinary that they could take no credit for what they had done. Jesus called them “little children”.
And Jesus was ecstatic that His Father’s plan was working! God was using the “unqualified” to reveal His power and grace to the poor and needy. In a typical John’s Gospel-like statement, He also rejoiced in the unqualified authority He had received at the Father’s pleasure. God and Jesus were so one that the Father could entrust to the Son the freedom and authority to bring to the Father anyone He chose.
This was a unique moment in history, an experiment that had worked! Imagine Jesus’ joy when these seventy two men reported back on the success of their mission, actually doing the works of Jesus and being an answer to His prayer to bring “up there down here”. Prophets of old who were God’s specially chosen and anointed “advocates” of His covenant, did miracles from time to time but these were sporadic and rare in the scope of Israel’s history. They were often acts of judgment on rebellious and wayward people.
But this was different – the mercy of God lavished on ordinary people through ordinary people. This is what God longs to do most of all, kingdom stuff to show off His goodness to people who don’t deserve it.
It was beginning to happen and Jesus was thrilled. He was kick-starting a movement that would never cease as long as this world remains, and the fruit of it would last forever. These men were now a part of a kingdom as big as God Himself, an “upside-down” kingdom that was strong through the weakness of its subjects and alive through their death. This was something only those who connected to Jesus through His death and resurrection by faith could fully know.
What if we really grasped this truth – that God deliberately chooses nobodies to continue the work of Jesus so that the honour and the credit go to Him, not to us? What if we just did what He told us to do, heal the sick, cast out demons and announce the presence of His rule, right here and now? What if?