Jesus has finished gathering His followers and now He sends them out. Luke is the only one who shares this group’s disbursement with us. We witnessed the sending out of Jesus twelve chosen disciples but Luke shares His appointment and sending out of seventy two men. Did this number include the original twelve or was it in addition to them?
Luke tells us that Jesus was sending these men out to the cities He would be going Himself. They were sent out two by two, just as His twelve disciples had gone out. Jesus gave this group the same instructions when He sent them out. They were to go into every town and proclaim the Kingdom of God. They weren’t to take money or extra clothes with them. They were to eat whatever was served in whatever home they came to in the town. They were to let their peace rest on the home IF a “son of peace” resided there. They were to stay in that home the entire time they were ministering to the town IF the town received them. If no son of peace was found their peace would return to them and if the town refused them they were to shake the dust off their feet as a testament against them.
I also noticed a couple of differences not included in the disciples’ directions. The first one was that they were not to greet anyone on the road. I wonder why that was. The second thing I noticed was the message they were bringing. The disciples were to tell the people to repent for the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, just as John the Baptist had been proclaiming. This group was told to proclaim that “the Kingdom of God has come near to you” (verse 9). I wonder if this was actually the same message, just said differently by our various authors. The third thing I noticed was that this group wasn’t told to bind up demons, only heal the sick. We are not told if Jesus imparted His authority over unclean spirits to them as He did with the twelve, so did they have His authority? They were certainly healing in His name. The last thing I noticed was how they were to shake the dust off their feet of the towns that didn’t receive them and the word they carried. Jesus told His closest twelve to shake the dust off as they leave the city. This group He tells to proclaim it in the streets as to what they were doing and what it would net come judgement day.
When Jesus sent this larger group out He gave a very good reason. He told them that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (verse 2a). There were a LOT of people to reach and He needed their help to reach them. Even though He was God, He was still man and bound by the physical laws at that time. He let them know they were an answer to His prayer and also to pray themselves regarding this task in the future. “Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest” (verse 2b). These men were a great help to Jesus. We will get to see the results of their missionary journey very soon. Right now though Jesus tells them to “Go your way” (verse 3a). He also cautions them though that they are going “out as lambs in the midst of wolves” (verse 3b).
Lord Jesus, I’m so glad You had men willing to help out in Your ministry. These men made it a little easier for You. They in NO WAY replaced You, but they were the first wave of ministers beyond You personally. How many of these men stayed with You when Your teachings got tougher? Were these men part of the start of Your church? Were they present at Pentecost? How many cities did they have to shake dust off in?
Thank You that You use us too. I’ve not been sent like these men but others have. You use us in so many ways now days. Is this blog a “sending out?” I pray I represent You well in it. Please help me represent You and Your word accurately in all I do and say. Thank You for letting me be even a part of what You are doing in this world.
Called like Elijah. Enjoy the Days of Elijah. The harvest is plenty! Make me one of Your laborers!