Lesson 75: The Lord Appointed Another Seventy
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. This is lesson # 75. Welcome again! Sometime during the fall of AD 32, Jesus appointed a group of disciples in the area of Judea and Perea to canvass there very much like he had sent the 12 on the limited commission over Galilee. Let's back up to Luke's account and read about this, Luke ch. 10. We'll break this reading into two parts. We'll start by reading the first 16 verses. Let's read that. Beginning in Luke 10:1, are you ready? "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. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, 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. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. 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. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which are exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me."
This evidently occurred at the time of the year we call October and November. Most of Jesus' work had been done in the region of Galilee. But after the feast of tabernacles that fall Jesus set up shop, so-to-speak, in the region of central Judea. This was a hard region to work because of the Jews living in those parts were more zealous, religiously speaking. Jesus organized his disciples. V.I said, "the Lord appointed other seventy also...", i.e. seventy in addition to the 12 apostles. He sent them two by two, i.e. in pairs just like the apostles went over Galilee six or eight months before. Where did he sent them? Our text says "into every city and place, whither he himself would come." Thus, it is apparent that Jesus organized his work. He apparently sat down with these disciples and they divided up the territory and Jesus planned ahead where he would go. Thus, two disciples were sent into each village or place where Jesus would ultimately come. These disciples were to heal the sick (v.9) and teach, "The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." Almost a repeat of the limited commission, Matt. ch. 10. It is implied that Jesus gave them power to heal sickness and to cast out demons as had been extended to the apostles. Who were these people? The disciples of Jesus. This indicates that some had put their hand to the plow and not looked-back as Jesus said in Luke 9:62, just up the page. Some disciples had proved themselves worthy according to the standards that Jesus outlined. The twelve apostles must have helped more in a supervisory capacity and in the organizing of this campaign. If the apostles went out in pairs as before, which I would assume they did; then for each pair of apostles there were almost six pair of other disciples. Or to say it another way, there were 35 pairs of disciples, plus six pair of apostles making up a total of 41 pair or a total of 82 workers besides Jesus. How many villages and towns they worked we are not told. If Jesus came to them and spent one day in each of the villages where they went; that alone took 42 days, or more than a month.
But, before they left on this teaching tour; Jesus must have had a session with them as he did with the twelve back in Matt. ch. 10. Luke doesn't go into as much of the detail instruction as Matthew did. However, v.2-16 is that instruction. Jesus likened them to labors in a wheat field harvesting what ultimately became bread. This is very much like Jesus told Peter, Andrew, James and John that he would make them fishers of men back in Matt. 4:19. But, on this occasion; Jesus' parabolic way of saying it was "that he would send forth laborers into his harvest." The harvest being of course the people, or in other words the soil, where the seed called the word of God, would be sown. Some of that seed would germinate and grow in the hearts of the good soil and some would be harvested as citizens of the coming kingdom. They were to teach, "The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." (v.9 & v.11). And of course they were to do as much harvesting as they could. But, then, Jesus warned them as he did the twelve, "I send you forth as lambs among wolves." Jesus had told the apostles, Matt. 10:16, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Jesus used the common characteristics of animals with which these were familiar to describe the circumstances under which they were to work. They were to make no preparation for the journey, just go! (v.4). "Salute no man by the way" is another way of saying they were not to make this a tour to visit and chum around with old friends and relatives. They had a job to do, a mission. They were to stay with whoever would keep them. Jesus had told the apostles to inquire who in the village or city was worthy, Matt. 10:11. They were to stay with worthy people. They were to respect the household that invited them and gave them lodging, that's the idea in v.5-6. They were to find a worthy place and stay there, v.7 said don't go from house to house; i.e. they were not to shift their living quarters from place to place. That of course did not mean they were NOT to teach from house to house. They were not to worry about being a burden on the household where they stayed. If their room and board was extended to them hospitably; they were to accept it, "eat such things as are set before you." That is, don't be demanding; but, don't be ashamed of the work you are doing and don't feel bad because you are eating bread that you didn't work for. They were harvesting souls; and that was an important work. Jesus said, "the Laborer is worthy of his hire." They were to work; but, they were not to feel they were imposing by taking food and lodging. There is a principle here that holds true throughout the O.T. and the N.T.; those who honestly teach and preach the word are to be cared for materially by those they teach. The apostle Paul told the Corinthians, "they which wait on the alter are partakers with the alter. Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." Paul was there speaking of carnal things, i.e. the necessities of life. Paul gave that statement following this question: "If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?" These quotes come from I Cor. 9, v.11-12-13-14. But, then in v.11here in Luke ch. 10, Jesus told these disciples and apostles what to do if they were not accepted and the villagers would not care for them. They were still to teach in their streets (v.10). They were to wipe off the dust of their feet and say, "ye can be sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." Notice, they were to teach the same thing; whether they were accepted or not. It's nice to be ableto teach under ideal conditions; but, if the conditions are not ideal, the message is the same. If you study this close; the rules were essentially the same whether they were entering a village or city or entering a home.
In v.12-16, Jesus said in effect, NO RETALIATION. If they don't accept you; don't you worry about that. You go in good faith! Try your best to teach. If they will accept you and provide for you, great! If they won't accept you, you do your best to teach them any way. Jesus was saying, if they reject you, I'll take care of that. They'll be punished; but, that is not in your department. Jesus will take care of that! V.12-15 describes that punishment and how that punishment will be administered in pretty plain language. I believe you should by now know every city and ever place mentioned in those verses. The fact that all these places were farther north; tends to make one question if this mission of the seventy may have been done around the sea of Galilee. Some commentators think this was the case. One cannot be sure on this point; but, I tend to see it in Judea. However, it may rather imply that many of the disciples of that seventy number may have been from Galilee and from the area described by the cities mentioned here. In v.16, Jesus gave another principle. To accept the ones that Jesus sent; was the same as accepting himself. If they despised the ones that Jesus sent; it is considered the same as despising Jesus.
O.K. where they went, how long they stayed, how much they accomplished, who accepted them and who didn't is not stated. It is NOT said here; but, I would assume it is implied that Jesus gave them the same instructions he gave the apostles back in Matt. 10:5, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But, the next thing our text here in Luke ch. 10 tells us is that they returned. So, let's read about their return. We're going to read Luke 10:17-24. Are you ready. Beginning in Luke 10:17, let's read! "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 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. Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. And he returned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: For Itell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them: and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them." O.K. the seventy returned. We don't know if Jesus had appointed a day and a place for them to meet again; but it's most likely he did. Very little was said about the twelve returning, you will recall. Part of that may be attributed to the fact that the occasion was overshadowed by the bad news of the death of John the Baptist. But the seventy returned with joy. They had a pleasant tour undoubtedly. Can you visualize that day when they returned and met with the Lord to give a report of the things that had happened to them during their healing and teaching. Some were beaming with great things that had happened. People healed! People who were taught and had been baptized and people that had confessed Jesus and people who were waiting for the kingdom. Some were still amazed at the powers Jesus had given them and how those demons had responded to their casting them out. "Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name." Through all this enthusiasm and all the good that had been done; Jesus said, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." Now, the point that Jesus made here was this; they were helping to bind Satan, to arrest Satan, to bind Satan. In all the success they had had Jesus could just see Satan quickly falling from his lofty heights. Now, this verse is quite often taken out of it's context to teach some pretty far out stuff. So, try to get the context here in which Jesus made this statement, context-context-context. Then in v.19, Jesus follow that thought by promising them even more power. Now, to exactly who Jesus made that statement and as to the extent of those powers is not made clear in this verse. Jesus undoubtedly had reference to the powers of the Holy Spirit that the apostles received only five or six months later in opening the kingdom and using those keys of Matt. 16:19 and the miraculous work connected with the establishment of the kingdom or church. But, then in Luke 10:20, Jesus warned them that they should not rejoice in such powers or because they could control demons miraculously. You see, these powers were conferred upon them. But, the genuine thing they should rejoice about is the fact that their name were written in heaven. And again this is a figurative statement no doubt, i.e. a parable or a metaphor describing their salvation. It would be like us saying we have a bank account in the heavenly bank of salvation. It's another way of saying their deeds and works and faith were recognized by the heavenly Father. Then v.21 and v.22 is a prayer of thanks giving to the heavenly Father. It does not say that Jesus separated himself from his disciples and apostles here; but, v.24 says that after the prayer Jesus returned unto the disciples. So, undoubtedly, he stepped aside or in some way expressed his thanks to the heavenly Father in a private way. The fact that it is written down here may be attributed to inspiration.
When Jesus returned (v.23) to the disciples he confided in them that they were fortunate to live in the day in which they did and to participate in such a great work. Many, many prophets in the O.T. had prophesied of the things that were then transpiring and many of them envied the apostles and disciples that were participating in those things the disciples were there participating in; but, they had been hindered by the time in which they lived. Thus, those disciples had much to be thankful for that they had live in the time of Jesus and enjoyed that association. We live in a great days also. We may be living in the days when Jesus will return. We enjoy many things they didn't, roads, highways, transportation they could not have conceived of, telephones and communications that defied their imagination. We enjoy medical treatments and advancements that simply awe me. But, every generation has had its advantages and disadvantages. But, one thing is common to all; the merits of Jesus can come to all in any generation. Until our next lesson, have a good day.