7655 - The Seventy-Two


Let’s consider the first large sending out of what were essentially missionaries.

Luke chapter 10 opens with Jesus sending out seventy-two disciples to prepare the villages ahead of them for the ministry of Jesus.

This is a similar directive to Luke 9 when Jesus sent the twelve apostles out on a similar mission in Galilee.

Luke 10:1-16:

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. 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. 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 a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, 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 set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, `The kingdom of God is near you.' But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, `Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.' I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

"Woe to you, Korazin! 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 up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.

"He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. These seventy-two were being sent into the homes of Judea, whereas, the twelve went into homes in Galilee.

Only Luke records the mission of the seventy-two.

The instructions to both groups were similar, but the mission of the seventy-two is more encompassing. Go to all people and tell everybody that the kingdom of God is near you. This plan anticipated the universal mission of Jesus. Prior to this time Jesus limited his outreach to the Jews.

Jesus pointed out to the team that this was a big task. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field.”

Notice Jesus’ words, “I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” They were to go without the usual supplies one would take on a trip, no money, no suitcase, and no extra shoes. Like lambs they were to be totally dependent upon their shepherd. He may have been invisible, but He was present in His omnipresent form and power.

Sure there would be wolves lurking along the way looking for an easy hit, but the shepherd would take care of those wolves.

Jesus was saying to them even as He says to Christians today, “Trust me, depend upon me. I will protect and provide.”

He would also guide each team to the proper place to stay, where they would be safe in eating whatever was set before them.

If a town would not listen to the message, then these missionaries were to wipe the dust of that town from their feet. This was a cultural symbol of separating oneself from those they had been with. Here it indicated withdrawal of any blessings from those who would not hear the message that the kingdom of God is near.

The final words of Jesus indicates a judgment upon the cities which have been resistant and hard to the gospel message. Those who rejected Jesus rejected Father God as well.