Abstract: What Jesus meant by “few” workers is workers trained exactly as he trained his disciples in Luke 9 & 10—that is, in the use of supernatural power and authority to heal the sick and cast out demons as compelling evidence to the lost that Jesus is the Messiah.
Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
What did Jesus mean by “the workers are few”? It is estimated that today there are 400,000 missionaries in the world—certainly not “a few.”
What Jesus obviously meant was that workers today trained just as he trained his workers in the gospels are very few indeed. His workers had been trained in the use of supernatural power and authority to drive out all demons and to heal diseases as evidence of the truth of the gospel.
Luke 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. …6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.
The lamentable fact is that among the 400,000 workers on the mission field today, only a scant few are able to heal the sick and cast out demons effectively as compelling supernatural evidence of the gospel to the lost. That is why missions today—focusing primarily on humanitarian and social outreach—is so different from missions as recorded in Acts where often the miraculous preceded and then resulted in many turning to Jesus as the Messiah.
That is why missions, especially to non-Christian Third World countries, is generally difficult—struggling with little expectations. The fact is unless gospel-resistant Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and idol-worshipers see miracles, they will never believe in large numbers—as we see took place in Acts.
John 4:48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
For the most part, the “signs and wonders” Jesus said were necessary for people to believe are nearly non-existent on the mission field today. Most contemporary mission efforts therefore focus on noble humanitarian works—economic, physical, societal, educational, and spiritual (primarily for believers and churches already present there)—to demonstrate the unfathomable love of our God to the lost.
During these Last Days when the time is short for the Church to fulfill the Great Commission, God is starting to do something “new”: the signs and wonders are beginning to be done by His workers on the mission field as in Acts. They are now being trained in the use of supernatural power and authority to heal the sick and cast out demons consistently—just as Jesus trained his disciples in the gospels.
We are now seeing the beginning of the restoration of missions as is recorded in Acts. Jesus’ seemingly unbelievable promise in John 14:11-12 is now beginning to be fulfilled.
John 14:12 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing…
It appears that God is now paving the way for The Elijah Challenge to train His workers for the harvest field in Hong Kong as well as in a country bordering Hong Kong having a population of 1,350,000,000 (that’s 1.35 billion souls). These workers will be trained just as Jesus trained his disciples, and then sent to “heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘the kingdom of God has come near to you’” (Luke 10:9).
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
This is what God has called The Elijah Challenge to do during these Last Days—helping to train His harvest workers around the world to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and the Great Commission.