“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] 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. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.” Luke 10.1-4
Sometimes we think of Jesus’ operation of twelve followers as small. Maybe we even reflect on those times when it’s just Jesus and the three — Peter, James and John. But the crowds that followed Jesus were not small and the collection of disciples, as evidenced in v.1, were quite large.
So Jesus appointed seventy-two people (probably men) and sent them “two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” Jesus was on his way up to Jerusalem, so it might be fair to say he was in the suburbs. He was approaching the hill country of Judaea, and commissioned thirty six teams of men, no small number, all over the region. It was a mass marketing campaign! Thirty six teams to the area to get the word out about what he was doing.
Yet Jesus sends out his followers with a warning — “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” The task would not be easy then, nor is it easy today. His caution is well noted. And the attitude in which they would go, without a purse or bag or sandals, and without stopping to “chat” along the road — indicated the speed at which they should travel and the intentionality of their trip.
The time was nearing for Jesus’ work to be completed upon this earth. But before he left and returned to heaven, the final work of the Cross had to be accomplished. Jesus was mobilizing his troops in a strategic way so all could hear the good news of the Gospel.
Jesus also calls us out Into the harvest field. This is his mission for his disciples— to go and make disciples. “For the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” We are not to be agenda driven by social and cultural issues of the day — we are to be lead by the Holy Spirit to share the love, grace, redemptive power of Christ which sets us free us from our sin. Jesus’ sending forth of the original seventy two began what continues today.
Are you being called forth to help accomplish God’s mission? Are you distracted by the ways of the world, captured by society or self-absorbed by temptation and sin? Turn to Christ! Find relief and be rescued by his love. Allow Jesus to save your soul and set you on the path of righteousness for his names sake. By his grace and for his glory.
“O Lord God, you are good. You are missional, strategic, purpose-driven. Your desire for all to come to faith is great. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for sending forth your disciples so we might hear the good news. Once you set your love in motion, nothing can stop it. Save us from the evil one and from a world which glorifies sin. Come Holy Spirit, fill us now, redeem your church and help us walk in the way that leads to life eternal. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen