Jesus gives me a mission. Jesus is sending me to proclaim the good news. I am very excited. This is going to be fun. Jesus is sending me, what could go wrong?
Jesus warns me that not everything is going to go so well. I am a lamb. There are wolves out there who want to kill and eat me alive. Yikes!
Hmm … do I really want to do this?
After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others, and he sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. 3 Now go; I’m sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Don’t carry a money-bag, traveling bag, or sandals; don’t greet anyone along the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ 6 If a person of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they offer, for the worker is worthy of his wages. Don’t move from house to house. 8 When you enter any town, and they welcome you, eat the things set before you. 9 Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near you.’ 10 When you enter any town, and they don’t welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘We are wiping off even the dust of your town that clings to our feet as a witness against you. Know this for certain: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town. | Luke 10:1-12
These 72 men were not called “apostles,” but they were still “sent [apostello] with a commission” to represent the Master Jesus. They were therefore truly ambassadors of the King. Not only were they sent by Him, but they were also sent before Him to prepare the way for His coming. Their calling was certainly a dignified one.
It was also a difficult calling. Harvesting is hard work, even when there are many people helping you, but these men were sent into a vast field with very few workers to help them reap a great harvest. Instead of praying for an easier job, they were to pray for more laborers to join them, and we today need to pray that same prayer. It is laborers, not spectators, who pray for more laborers! Too many disciples are praying for somebody else to do a job they are unwilling to do themselves.
Their calling was a dangerous one. As they invaded enemy territory, they would be like “lambs among wolves”. But as long as they relied on the Master, they would win the battle. “Any man who takes Jesus seriously becomes the target of the devil,” Vance Havner often told audiences. “Most church members do not give Satan enough trouble to arouse his opposition.”
“Now Go”: The word translated now is ἰδού idŏu in Greek. It conveys prompters of attention, which serve also to emphasize the following statement—‘look, listen, pay attention, come now, then.’
It would require discipline and faith for them to do the job. There was an urgency about the work, and the Messiah did not want them to be overburdened with extra supplies or be delayed on the road by elaborate Eastern greetings. They had to trust God to provide homes and food for them, and they were not to be embarrassed to accept hospitality. After all, they were laboring for the Lord and bringing blessing into the home, and “the laborer is worthy of his hire”.
They were ambassadors of peace, bringing healing to the sick, deliverance to the possessed, and the Good News of salvation to lost souls. Like Joshua’s army of old, they first proclaimed peace to the cities. If a city rejected the offer of peace, then it chose judgment. It is a serious thing to reject the ambassadors God sends.
- Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Lk 10:1–42). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
- Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 811). New York: United Bible Societies.
- Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 210). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.