Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two, Rejoices in the Father’s Will
by J.B. Simmons
This remarkable story of successful mission lacks many details. We are left to wonder who these disciples were, where exactly they went, and how many people they reached. But the details that Luke does provide reveal much about how we can best serve the Kingdom. Here are three observations to inspire the work Christ has given you in this Lenten season:
The disciples went in pairs. If you had seventy-two people reporting to you, how would you divide them? You could give each person an assignment to spread out their effectiveness. You could send out a large group for strength in numbers. Jesus did something different. He sent out the disciples in pairs.
This meant no one went alone, but also that each person had only one partner to share the yoke. Imagine how the pairs worked together. They walked, talked, ate, and slept alongside each other. They bonded over the joys and challenges of their mission. They likely accomplished more together than they could have alone, or in large groups.
Who would Jesus pair you with for your mission? You may, like the seventy-two disciples, do better with another person sharing the journey. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
Jesus intended to follow after them. The disciples were sent “into every town and place where Jesus himself was about to go.” (Luke 10:1) The disciples were the forerunners. They prepared the way for Jesus himself to finish the work that they had begun. Only Christ can complete the work of evangelism—in the heart of believers.
Our missions can likewise be seen as pre-missions. Christ sends us out to prepare the way for him. Do not be discouraged if you do not immediately see the fruit of your work. Christ intends to follow after you. He is the way.
No stuff, no distractions, more power. This was not a safe mission. The disciples were “lambs in the midst of wolves.” (Luke 10:3) How then did Christ equip them?
They carried no moneybag, no sack, no sandals. There was nothing to weigh them down. Nothing to make them targets. Nothing to distract them. Jesus even told them to not greet anyone on the road. It seems He wanted nothing to obscure the singular focus of their mission.
With such focus, they did not work in weakness. They came with God’s power, as Christ’s instruments. They healed the sick and proclaimed the Gospel. If a town would not receive them, they could leave, wipe the dust off their feet, and render that town worse than Sodom—a city that had been burned up by fire and brimstone. No equipment was needed for such power.
Whatever tools you think you may need for your part in the Kingdom work—from bank accounts to audiovisuals to social media—rest assured that God can use you without such things. You may even find more power without the distractions.
Lord, thank you for giving us a part in your Kingdom work. Please send us out like the seventy-two disciples. Lead us to friends who can share our work. Give us focus to avoid distractions. And fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit so that we can go boldly before you, even as lambs among wolves, proclaiming the Gospel and softening hearts to welcome you in.
J.B. Simmons is the author of seven novels and The Awakening of Washington’s Church. Learn more about him and his work at www.jbsimmons.com.