After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the labourer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.
“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Jesus sent a team of 36 pairs of disciples preparing for him to later travel into the same areas. They were to be simple in their methods, faithful in their task, and not diverted by opposition. We don’t see the classically taught ‘meek and mild’ Jesus here. Listen….
- If people wouldn’t accept them, and their message, they were to leave, shaking the dust off their footwear (surely an enacted demonstration of judgement), and proceed with their pre-Jesus tour.
- Jesus throughout the gospels ofter speaks of hell/sheol/hades and here states that those who don’t listen will be brought down to hades. He says that previously destroyed cities would have repented and not brought judgement on their heads if the miracles and teachings which these people were seeing and hearing had been performed in those places. Here they were hearing and seeing greater things so their judgement would be swift and great.
- He said that not accepting you, his messengers, meant not accepting him!
To the sent-out ones he said ‘don’t be proud with what I’ve enabled you to do, just be glad that as mine you have a place reserved for you in heaven!‘
Prayer: As a hearer of your message or as a messenger sent out please help to hear what you are saying here, Lord!