How does Jesus’ sending out the 72 apply to Christians today? Are there lessons we can gain from their experience? Is the gospel being fully proclaimed today?
Luke 10:1-12 The Sending of the Seventy-Two
To see exactly what we can learn from Jesus’ sending out the 72 to preach the gospel and the practical application for believers today we will go verse by verse to see what exactly it was Jesus was telling them to do and why.
Luke 10:1 “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.”
When we go out to preach the gospel it is always best for two to go together. Why? Because there is one that can pray while the other shares the gospel. The Bible also speaks that two are better than one (Eccl 4:9) and that by two, a thing is established (2 Cor 13:1; Deut 19:15). What is interesting is that Jesus sent these men out to go ahead or go before Him in the places that “he himself was about to go.” The lesson in this might be that Jesus is responsible for what happens after the gospel has been proclaimed and that if a person repents and trusts in Him, it is God Who is responsible. It is their response to His ability but it is our responsibility to tell others about Christ. He will do the “follow up” by the work of the Holy Spirit whose work is to reveal Who Christ is and why a person needs Him as Savior.
Luke 10:2 “And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
I hate to say this but often I fear man over fearing God. I do this when I am silent and am actually denying Christ when I refuse to share the gospel of Jesus Christ for fear of being rejected or ridiculed. Shame on me for these sins of silence. Jesus tells us to pray for laborers because the harvest is so huge and there are so few laborers. I tried to set a goal of witnessing to at least one person every day. We need to pray for more laborers and if you are not one, pray that God gives you a spirit of courage and boldness for we are rescuing the perishing and snatching people out of hell fire. Why should we not therefore be more courageous for our Master!?
Luke 10:3 “Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”
I have gone door to door by myself. I did this for about 3 years and I was spit on, dogs chased me (even one cat chased me but I bluffed him), I have had doors slammed in my face, been cussed at, called a narrow-minded bigot, and believe me, when we take the gospel to the world, we are lambs nearly being sent to the slaughter. Just realize you will be attacked but remember that it is the Message that they really hate (Jesus) and not the messenger.
Luke 10:4 “Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.”
Luke 10:5-9 “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 laborer 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.’”
This is interesting because “Peace be to this house” is a Jewish customary greeting and farewell. Where they accept the message, there will be peace and “if a son of peace is there” may indicated that there is a child of God already in the house and it may be that there is already salvation that has come to that house. Then it changes…”But if not, it will return to you.” That is, if they provide you with provisions for your mission for Christ (e.g. food, drink, whatever), then remain there for a while. Stay there to visit and don’t continue on right way. As for “Do not go from house to house” may mean that they can stay there until they are refreshed and ready to go again into the harvest field to labor for the Lord.
Luke 10:10-12 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.
This is clearly what will happen most of the time. Many of the communities believed in Jesus but it was not a sincere belief. Jesus knew their hearts and that not all that profess belief possessed belief. By shaking the dust off our feat we are simply leaving their eternal state to God and the fearful warning is that we should understand that their blood is on their own hands and not on the watchman’s hands who at least warned them. All that we can do is pray and hope that God sends them repentance and they trust in Him after seeing the sinfulness of their sins and their desperate need for the Savior.
Jesus is still sending out men and women today. I told one young man who was just learning how to witness to the lost and tried to encourage him that God is the evangelist. God saves them, we don’t but I told this young man that it takes a man of God with the Spirit of God mixed with the Word of God to make children of God. The same applies to women of course. That is my prayer for you that you will feel the passionate desire to “be sent” and pray to the Lord of the Harvest that He might send forth more laborers into the fields so that more would be saved to worship the Great Coming King at His return, thereby giving God more glory. The glory of God is what it’s all about.
Take a look at this related article: How to Become a Christian Missionary
Resources – “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”.