One day Jesus called together His twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then He sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for your journey,” He instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes. Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.Luke 9:1-6
The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places He planned to visit. These were His instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields. Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road.
“Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house. If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay. “If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you. Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.‘ But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Well wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!‘Luke 10:1-11
Same Similar Different
The same basic pattern is seen in both Sendings:
- They were called / chosen
- Given instructions
- Told what not to take (the focus was on what not to take)
- What to do when they were not welcomed.
- Both times don’t take money or a traveler’s bag
- Preach / tell about the Kingdom of God
- Heal the sick
- Take an extra set [underwear / sandals]
- Stay in the same house you were received into.
- Don’t move around
- When you are not welcomed shake the dust off your feet
- Leave them to their fate
The most obvious difference is that between twelve disciples and the seventy or seventy-two. Notice the word “other”. In other words the 12 were not included in the 72. They didn’t go out again the second time around. Why not? I suspect we would have sent them out again. I think we would have divided them into 12 teams of six each with one of the original twelve in each group. Right? Makes sense, right. Not with Jesus. I am not going to be drawn into an explanation of the difference between 70 or 72, except to point out the latter is a multiple of 12 and the number that was on the Sanhedrin and tell you that there are the two options in the Greek manuscripts – 70 or 72. You decide which you think was meant.
- No walking stick / no food (for the 12)
- Underwear cf extra sandals.
- Don’t greet anyone. (Makes it a bit hard for friendship evangelism doesn’t it?)
- The twelve disciples were given power and authority to cast out demons.
- The seventy-two were sent in pairs
- To all the towns and places He planned to visit.
- When you first enter a home pronounce the blessing.
- Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, eat whatever is set before you.
- Tell them the Kingdom of God is near and is NOW (Repeated twice).
In terms of leaving unwelcoming people to their fate
- the 12 were to shake the dust off as a sign.
- the 72 were to tell the people the symbolism.
There is so much to comment on here when we contrast the sending of the twelve with the sending of the seventy-two. (I am using 72 simply because the NLT does in the reading above.) I have made some cursory comments at the outset and then will give you some time to chew on the contrasts for yourself. I will comment on some of the elements in the next Gem and will let others pass by. Just simply because to do an exhaustive coverage takes more time than necessary and would bore some of you. Ponder these contrasts for yourself.
Next Gem I will begin with the interesting focus on what not to take rather than what to take. Interesting isn’t it? In both preparations (the “12” and the “72”) the focus is on what not to take rather than what to take. Why is that? All of us if we are going somewhere make a list of what to take rather than what not to take. There is a major message in that. Take time to think about it. Food for thought for modern day missionaries. Carry-on only. No more worrying about overweight baggage or having to wait around to pick up all your belongings at the luggage carousel. Travelling light. I will unpack that next Gem. Pun intended.
I intend to devote a whole Gem to this following segment on its own:
“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields. Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.”
Everybody is gifted, it’s just that some people never open the package!Rick Godwin
Faith is not believing God CAN, it’s knowing that He WILL! He will not fail you!Rick Godwin
We want God to change our circumstances. God wants our circumstances to change us.Leticia Seviraneta
Three classic filters before saying anything: Am I sure it’s true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?Rick Warren
Sometimes what we do speaks so loud that people find it hard to hear what we say.A R Bernard