In a scene reminiscent of his earlier sending out of the twelve disciples, discussed here and here, Jesus now appoints seventy-two others and sends them out two-by-two to every town he was about to visit.
Here were his instructions:
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, 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 performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.”
“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The seventy-returned from their journeys full of joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
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 is what you were pleased to do.
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
Let’s look at our 2 BIG Questions:
1. Who exactly is Jesus?
He’s the Father’s Son, full of the Holy Spirit. “All things” have been committed to him.
2. What exactly does he want us to do?
He instructed the seventy-two to:
- ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field
- take no purse, bag or sandals
- stay in homes that promote peace and eat and drink what they offer
- heal the sick in towns that welcome them and warn towns that don’t
- proclaim that “the kingdom of God has come near”
- never fear because they are acting under Jesus’ authority
- rejoice that their names are written in heaven
- consider themselves blessed
Reflect on those instructions as you contemplate your own role and mission in God’s Kingdom.
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Feng Yu)