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.
5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.[b]
16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
23 Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
“The Call to Share in God’s Blessing.”
Darrell Bock writes:
As rich as the history of the faith is, what is preached is what makes the task so precious. The call to share in God’s blessing is the greatest vocation one can possess. Every believing community needs to highlight and teach its people to join in the task. Some will go great distances; others will share with friends and neighbors. But all are called to do something. Jesus did not leave the ministry only to the Twelve. Neither today are pastors the only ones called to share God’s blessings with others.
Interestingly, Jesus says little about method, nor does he give his followers a developed message. Their ministry is to minister to needs, to reveal God’s power, and to share where it has come from. many are intimidated to share Jesus because they feel they do not kow what to say. Jesus sends the seventy-two and tells them simply to give of themselves and point to the presence of God. Sometimes we make evangelism more difficult than it needs to be.
There should be no doubt, however, that eternal life and death are the issue when it comes to Jesus. Our era has made it too easy to pass of religious opinionas if we were choosing flavors at the ice-cream store. God is not so cold as to allow such important matters to be left to human whim. In offering his Son, he has put true life to death, so taht men and women can experience life. In death the true life has removed any obstacle that may stand in the way of relationship with God. Strange as it may seem, the world often accuses God of narrowness for opening the way so wide through his Son. What seems as a narrow way in Jesus is in fact a door that opens up to a vast field of blessing. Jesus will speak of his message as the narrow door in 13:24. Disciples know that the key is not the width of the door but where it leads.
What God asks of each person is to recognize before God that he or she has not lived in a way that honors God and should therefore embrace the forgiveness and relationship that he longs to provide through Jesus. God shows evidence of his good faith by providing all we need to share in such blessing. All we need to do is turn in good faith and embrace the gift he had provided. The gospel is so simple in this basic element of turning to God for forgiveness in Christ that it is too hard for many to comprehend, much less accept. Yet it is this very simplicity that caused Jesus to compare those who see and embrace it to little children. The ways of God are not to be figured out when it comes to the gospel. For what Jesus offers are things that prophets and kings longed to experience. Those who know Jesus reside in a palace whose walls will never become a museum.
The class that I am in at Trinity is focused on vocation. Vocation is seen as both general and specific in the life of each person. Every person is called to surrender to Jesus as their King. As God’s ambassador, Jesus has all the authority of God. He is eternal, majestic, and worthy in ways that other humans can never be. However, he has announced to his followers that God’s blessing is available to all people. First we see twelve who are blessed and sent by Jesus, now we see seventy-two who are blessed and sent by Jesus, now there are millions who are blessed and sent by Jesus. Beyond this general calling is how it works out in each individual. Some are called to be pastors and to devote their time to communicating in the church, however, others have an equal calling if they nurse the sick, build bridges, teach in public school, or trade on Wall Street. They are called to bless whichever environment they are sent to. This does not just involve tea break, but relationship with Jesus should affect the whole work day. Relationship with God through Jesus should transform the very nature of the work itself.
May we all heed the call to share in God’s blessing. May we communicate both in what we say and what we do. May we integrate God’s dominion over both the material and the immaterial universe in our actions.
- Who does Jesus send?
- How are they to go?
- How does Jesus respond to their report?
- To whom are you sent?
- How do you see your job as a vocation or calling?