Week 89 | Sections 102 a,b
In this episode we learn about when Jesus commissioned the 70 (or 72). While some of the disciples had spend up to two years with Jesus, all of those commissioned were now responsible to share good news aligning all their attention, intentions and actions to do his will, to go, and be disciples who make disciples.
Section 102a | Commissioning on the Seventy
1 Now after these things,1 the Lord also2 appointed seventy others3 4–5, and sent them two by two6 ahead of him into every city and place where he was about to come. 2 Then he said to them, “The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he may send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways. Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.7 4 Carry no purse, nor wallet, nor sandals. Greet no one on the way.8 5 Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6 If a son of peace9 is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in that same house, eating and drinking the things they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Don’t go from house to house.10 8 Into whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat the things that are set before you. 9 Heal the sick11 who are there, and tell them, ‘God’s Kingdom has come near to you.’12 10 But into whatever city you enter, and they don’t receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust from your city that clings to us, we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that God’s Kingdom has come near to you.’13 12 I tell you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. 13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. 15 You, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades.14 16 Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”15
Section 102b | Return of the Seventy
17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”16 18 He said to them, “I saw Satan having fallen like lightning from heaven.17 19 Behold, I give you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.18 Nothing will in any way hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, don’t rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” 21 In that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in your sight.” 22 Turning to the disciples, he said, “All things have been delivered to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is, except the Father, and who the Father is, except the Son, and he to whomever the Son desires to reveal him.” 23 Turning to the disciples, he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see, 24 for I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see the things which you see, and didn’t see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and didn’t hear them.”19
- What passages, in addition to this, clarify the “Gospel message” we are to believe and share?
- Why do you suppose Jesus’ selected out of the multitude of disciples just 70 more witnesses? Was it based on vocation, maturity, or perhaps immaturity and the need to learn a lesson?
- What is your personal account(s) of how that message changed your life?
- How might your (lack of) understanding of sovereignty, grace and spiritual empowerment/authority affect the ministry of proclamation?
- What are the consequences (temporal and eternal) of unbelief and rejection of the message?
- Why do you suppose Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs?
- How is your sense of success, challenged by this passage?
- What would happen in your life (and in those you know) if you valued most on what Jesus rejoices in this passage?
- In your church (or small group) how many laborers of the Gospel are there? Two by two, how many towns or people might your church reach?
What are the necessary requirements for being “sent on mission”? Are the specific duties and goals from this passage that we should universally apply to missions today? Do you feel qualified? Do you feel called? What are you doing?
Go and be vulnerable. In your vulnerability you will be blessed even more because of your dependence on the Lord whom sent you.
- Jesus is in the region of Judea. In sections 96a-100a he was in Jerusalem and in section 104 Jesus is in Bethany, near Jerusalem and then appears to be itinerant again throughout Judea in sections 105-111. While he had traveled extensively there were hundreds of towns nearby and many there who had not met him nor heard the “good news”. Now in addition to the Apostles Jesus commissioned thirty-five teams (or maybe 36) to go share the Gospel, and their first-person account about Jesus’ mission, teachings, and miracles.
- That is in addition to the 12 apostles (See Section 70b at the commencement of Phase 5b which includes: Mt 10:1-42, Mk 6:7-11, and Lk 9:1-5).
- Acts 1:15 120 disciples, Paul reports that Jesus had no less than 500 followers 1Cor 15:6
- The early manuscripts are almost divided evenly numbering the group as 70 or 72. The number 70 is thematic in the Septuagint and also in early Christian tradition, and so its possible that in actuality the number was 72, but 70 is more memorable and symbolic alluding to the seventy elders of Israel (Num 11:16, 24, 25) or perhaps even similarity to the Sanhedrim. The Editorial Committee of the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament opines that its somewhat probable that the number was 72. While the NIV says that Jesus sent out 72, the WEB, NASB, RSV, and NRSV use 70. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter how many, as does their confidence in Christ and the impact of their testimony, ministry and the Good News in the lives of they met.
- The Syriac version names some of the others commissioned by God including: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas; together with Matthias, Mark, Luke, Justus, Barnabas, Apelies, Rufus, and Niger (listed in alphabetical order). The Orthodox Church has a solid tradition of honoring the 70. Tradition also names the following: Agabus, the prophet; Amphias, of Odyssus, sometimes called Amphiatus; Ananias, who baptized Paul, bishop of Damascus; Andronicus, of Pannonia, or Spain; Apelies, of Smyrna, or, according to others, of Heraclea; Apollo, of Caesarea; Aristarchus, of Apamea; Aristobulus, of Britain; Artemas, of Lustra; Asyncritus, of Hyrcania; Barnabas, of Milgin; Barnabas, of Heraclea; Caesar, of Dyrrachium; Caius, of Ephesus; Carpus, of Berytus, in Thracia; Cephas, bishop of Konia; Clemens, of Sardinia; Cleophas, of Jerusalem; Crescens, of Chalcedon, in Galatia; Demas, a priest of idols; Epaenetus, of Carthage; Epaphroditus, of Andriace; Erastus, of Paneas, or, according to others, of the Philippians; Evodus, of Antioch; Hermas, of Philippi, or Philippolls; Hermes, of Dalmatia; Hermogenus and Phygellus, who followed Simon Magus; Hermogenus, bishop of the Megarenes; Herodion, of Tarsus; James, the brother of our Lord, of Jerusalem; Jason, of Tarsus; Jesus Justus, bishop of Eleutheropolis: Linus, of Rome; Luke, the evangelist: Lucius, of Laodicea, in Syria; Mark, who is also John, of Biblopohs, or Byblus; Mark the evangelist, bishop of Alexandna; Mark, the sister’s son of Barnabas, bishop of Apolloma; Matthias, added to the apostles; Narcissus, of Athens; Nicanor, he died when Stephen suffered martyrdom; Nicolaus, of Samaria; Olympius, a martyr at Rome; Onesiphorus, bishop of Corone; Parmenas, of the Soli, Patrobulus, the same with Patrobas, in ( Romans 16:14 ) of Puteoli, or as others, of Naples; Philemon, of Gaza; Philemon (in the Acts he is called Philip), by whom the eunuch of the queen of Ethiopia was baptized, of Trallium, of Asia; Philologus, of Sinope; Phlegon, bishop of Marathon; Phygellus, of Ephesus; Prochorus, of Nicomedia, in Bithynia; Pudens; Quartus, of Berytus; Rhodion, a martyr at Rome; Rufus, of Thebes; Silas, of Corinth; Sylvanus, of Thessalonica; Sosipater, of Iconium; Sosthenes, of Colophon; Stachys, of Byzantium; Stephen, the first martyr; Tertius, of Iconium; Thaddaeus, who carried the epistle of Jesus to Edessa, to Abgarus; Timon, of Bostra, of the Arabians; Trophimus, who suffered martyrdora with the Apostle Paul; Tychicus, bishop of Chalcedon, of Bithynia; Tychicus, of Colophon; Urbanus, of Macedonm; and, Zenas, of Diospolis.- Gill’s Bible Commentary
- If they went out alone their testimony would have no witness and could not be validated (see 1Cor 14:29, 2Cor 13:1, Hebrews 10:28). In Jesus’ time and according to Jewish law, no person could be convicted of a crime by the testimony of just one witness. A testimony was validated by 2 or 3 witnesses. Additionally the culture valued companionship Eccl 4:9-12.
- Remember that only one of the original 12 disciples died at his own hands, the others all died at the hands of others who fearful and offended by the Gospel and rule of Christ.
- Nothing you can bring will give you the resources you need more than the peace of Christ which infills your soul.
- Someone receptive to the Gospel, eager to show hospitality to the missioner. Some interpret this to be a reference to the elect (see (cf. Colossians 3:12; 1 Timothy 5:21; Titus 1:1; 2 John 1, Romans 8:33, Ephesians 1:4). Election is a doctrine which classically aims to answer the question: Does God choose sinners to be saved and then provide for their salvation? – or- Does God provide the way of salvation that sinners must choose for themselves? Now Ephesians 1:4 we read “He chose us [elected us] in Him before the foundation of the world.” which is a passage of great reassurance – especially to the church of Ephesus or for Paul himself and the others of whom he was referring -or- it’s reference to all of humanity, -or- for every believer, -or- for the faithful.
- This is not a vacation is a mission. Invest the time to do your best, share the Good News and let the power of God move through you to heal, liberate, and restore those who would have ears to hear.
- Its clear that Jesus empowered and directed the 70 to do miracles. The only text indicating a dispensation in which such things would cease is interpreted by most to mean the end of times. Yet sadly and to the great detriment of the church, the prevailing cultural worldview and expectation of even believers is that miracles have ceased.
- This is likely not literally all that they said, but the essential message of the presence of God, the coming redemption, a life in Christ, and the promise of eternity with Christ.
- The phrase “shake the dust off your feet” is similar in meaning to what the Eternal said to Israel in Deuteronomy 30:19. The shaking of dust from their (the disciples’) feet symbolized that even the earth (the dust on their feet) was a witness against those who would not hear the people God sent to preach his gospel.
- Interesting that Jesus mentions these cities. It may be to make a point of the gravity of unbelief to the proud Judeans as they despised their northern neighbors for their lack of sophistication, allegiance to the faith evidenced by their openness to Hellenistic viewpoints 1, 2, 3. The reason for the cultural differences are rooted in the Assyrian conquest (8th century B.C.) which resulted in a more mixed population. The common opinion was that Judeans thought Galileans were lax in their observance of ritual and the law. The problem was exacerbated for centuries by the distance of Galilee from the temple and the theological leadership, which was focused in Jerusalem.
- Christ considers the 70 something of an emissary – representing his person, and perceiving what would be done to them, as done to himself.
- success in ministry and one’s joy ought not be in one’s self but the Christ, his glory
- This is a reference to the fall of Lucifer. It raises again for readers today the reality of Satan and Christ’s authority, supremacy and preexistence of his being.
- That is power over Satan
- There were in the same era of Jesus at least three false messiah’s: Theudas, Judah the Galilean, and one unnamed Egyptian Jew. Judah the Galilean is mentioned in Acts 5:37 and also by Josephus. Before the birth of Christ there was also Athronges (c. 3 CE) a shepherd turned rebel leader; and also Simon of Peraea (c. Unknown – 4 BCE) who had been a slave of Herod the Great.