The story of Christ’s mission to the seventy is recorded in the tenth chapter of Luke from verse one to verse twenty. Jesus had twelve disciples which he taught personally and thoroughly, so that when he is no more, the twelve will be able to take over the ministry without difficulties. Here, we see that Jesus needed more than twelve disciples to carry out the work here on earth because the harvest indeed is plenteous but the labourers are very few. He called and sent out seventy disciples to go and preach the word to the perishing world. Though we were not told the names of the seventy disciples, yet we assume with a high level of accuracy that the twelve disciples are included. Although, Jesus did not just send them out like that, he gave them some instructions on how to go about it. As Christians, we must be very careful in carrying out God’s instructions according to pattern, just as Moses did all his work according to the pattern shown him on the mountain.
At this point, it is best for us to read the Bible passage so as to understand fully what it says as we discuss along. Passage is presented in King James Version (KJV)
1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.
7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,
11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.
13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.
15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.
17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
The instructions Jesus gave his disciples are as follows;
1. They must go as lambs among wolves: This means that they were to preach peace in quietness of soul, heart and attitude. The nature of lamb is the nature of quietness and gentleness. Therefore, Christians ought to be gentle and harmless amidst all kinds of circumstances (whether favorable or not).
2. They were to carry no purse, shoes or scrip: This means that they are supposed to depend on God only for their supply and provision. We must live our lives daily because all of our helps comes from God. To whom shall we look up to if not to God only? God provides far more than we expect, therefore we must not fail to trust Him at all time.
3. They were to greet no one on their way: God needs complete consecration to His course. Getting involved in greeting at this point could easily lead to distraction. It might start from only greeting and then escalate to unprofitable discussions. Hence Christ’s warning against greeting anyone on their way.
4. Their salutation is to be “Peace be unto this house”: Let’s remind ourselves that Jesus is the prince of peace and therefore, He came to bring peace in a world full of chaos, rioting, bloodshed and other vices. Any true lover of Jesus must be a lover and follower of peace.
5. They should abide in any house in which they are welcomed: As children of the Most High God, who are interested in executing the divine mandate of the Lord, we must not do it as though we want to compel anyone to follow Christ. Rather, we must do it pleading with compassion for people to live for Christ. We must acknowledge that people have the right to make choices and therefore we must impose nothing on anybody – not even salvation.
6. They should gladly receive whatever the people heave placed before them: As the Bible rightly says, “To the pure all things are pure”. All things are to be accepted without questions for conscience sake.
7. They were given power to heal the sick and to cast out devils: The message of God is backed up with miracles, signs and wonders. In fact without signs, many people will not believe the message of the cross. Signs and wonders are ingredients which Christianity cannot do without.
As the disciples went and preached, they confirmed that God gave them power over sickness and satan. The people were healed. Devils were casted out. They lacked nothing despite the fact that they went with nothing. They returned with joy because of the great and mighty things which God did unto them and through them.
Consequences of Rejecting God’s Word
Jesus told His disciples that woe will be the lot of those who rejects His word. The word “WOE” means cursed. Therefore cursed is anyone who rejects the word of God. In this case, it is not just a temporary curse, but rather an eternal curse. The disciples were instructed to dust off the dust under their feet in any place where they are rejected. This is to confirm the condemnation of careless deserters and despisers. “Woe unto you chorazin! Woe unto you Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which had been done in you, they had a great while repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes”. Therefore, before anyone thinks of rejecting God, he must first evaluate the consequences to know if it is worth it.
Benefits of Obeying God.
Without disobedience and double mindedness, the disciples of Jesus went their way to carry out the instructions of Jesus and these are some of the countless benefits they enjoyed.
1. They healed the sick.
2. They castes out devils.
3. They had respect from men
4. They received power.
5. Their names were written in the book of life.
6. As they went out, Jesus said He beheld satan fell from heaven. Therefore, when we obey God, satan will be defeated over our lives.
What God wants us to do
1. God wants us to obey Him fully and completely.
2. Many people cannot preach because of fear of men. God wants us to remove fear from our lives.
3. Jesus told His disciples not to make any provision for themselves. God wants us to fully trust and depend on Him in all kind of situation, no matter how bad it might appear to be.
4. We cannot preach to others when we are still living in sin. God wants us to repent first before any other thing. Repentance must come first before service.
BY – C.M.O. CHUKWUEKE