The Harvest is Plentiful l Luke 10:1-24 l Chapel Hill Church Gig Harbor
Two weeks ago, partnering with six other churches, we launched Alpha in the Cutters Point. Alpha is a safe place for those who wouldn’t call themselves Christians to explore the Christian faith through conversation. One of my favorite stories so far from this Alpha was of a woman who was brought up in a predominantly Muslim country, but now lives in Gig Harbor. She had been suffering with an illness, but met a Christian while buying soup at Met Market who offered to pray for her in Jesus’ name and she was healed from this affliction. This intrigued her so much that when she was invited, she came to Alpha and brought her business partner.
On the first night she shared that she wanted to know who this God was who had healed her, and she asked: how could she get to know him? In response to this, a man at the table shared that we can get to know God because he gives us the Helper, that is, the Holy Spirit. The woman stopped the man and said, “Hang on. Say that again.” The man said, “God will give you the Helper. The Holy Spirit.” The woman said. “That’s crazy. I had a dream last night where I was trying to find someone called… the helper.”
Isn’t that crazy? God chooses to reveal himself in the most remarkable ways. In fact, stories of God revealing himself in dreams to persons living in the Muslim world are becoming more and more common. And yet, we tend to think of this as remarkable. We tend to think that the way people come to know God is by finding him themselves, rather than God finding them. But in today’s passage from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is going to tell us that the only way we can know God, is if he reveals himself to us.
My name is Ellis, and I’m one of the pastors at Chapel Hill. Welcome to all of you both in person and online. We’re continuing in our series through Luke’s biographical account of life of Jesus—his gospel. We’re going back to where we left things off before Easter at the beginning of chapter 10. You might want to grab a Bible or Bible app and turn to Luke 10 right now. Luke kicks off chapter 10 by sending out 72 of his followers on a mission trip. In fact, this section is incredibly similar to when he sent out 12 of his followers at the beginning of chapter 9, but now he widens that group to 72 persons. After the 72 return, Jesus debriefs them on the events of their trips, and then, he bursts into prayer. That’s where we pick things up in chapter 10, verse 21:
“In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”” Luke 10:21–22
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Last weekend, my daughter Evelyn needed to conduct a science experiment for a school project. It involved getting a group of people to taste both brand name and generic snacks—pretzels, mints, and peanut butter cups. In order to make sure we didn’t guess which was brand name and which was generic she needed to blindfold us. She had bought all the snacks but hadn’t thought about blindfolds, so we weren’t quite sure what to use as blindfolds for 10 people. But then I remembered we had a box of old face masks from the pandemic in the garage. So, we innovated.
According to Jesus, this is an image of how every human being starts their life. The reality of the Kingdom of God—salvation in and through faith in Jesus—is something we cannot see because it has been hidden from us. But Jesus tells us, that if it pleases the Father to choose to reveal it to us, the blindfold will be removed, and we will come to see the reality of the Kingdom of God. “I once was blind, but now I see,” as the famous hymn goes. Yet, Jesus makes a crucial point here: the revealing of the Kingdom—the removal of the blindfold, so to speak—is something that takes place according to the will of the Father. Take a look again at verse 21, where Jesus prays: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” Luke 10:21
Or, according to the footnote in the ESV translation of the Bible, another way to translate that final phrase is, “for so it pleased you well.”
The removal of that spiritual blindfold—the revealing of the truth—is something that takes place on the basis of the Father’s will, that is, at his good pleasure. In the same way that when we were doing the taste test, we were not able to remove our blindfolds until it pleased my daughter to have us remove them, we cannot remove our spiritual blindfolds, unless it pleases God the Father to remove them.