The Bible: The Power of Rebirth

The Mission of the Seventy

The Mission of the Seventy

Reflection on the Gospel of the Wednesday
In The Twenty-Eight Week Of Ordinary Time

 

Luke 10: 1-9

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few

In today’s gospel, the Lord publicly commissioned seventy-two people. The commissioning of the seventy(-two) anticipates the church’s mission to the nations (cf. Luke 24:47).

References to the “harvest” in the Jewish Scriptures allude both to the eschatological (Last-Time) judgment and preservation. Both aspects are present (cf. 10:7-8), though the emphasis here is on the ingathering of God’s people and the lack of workers to assist in this task.

Rather than equipping the disciples for “Holy War” against infidels, Jesus “de-equips” them and instructs them, “Do not carry a wallet, a travel bag, or sandals; and greet no one along the way” (Luke 10:3; cf. 9:3). The absence of standard traveling equipment indicates the total dependence of the disciples on the Sender. Jesus commanded them to pray; the work before them was great and could not be accomplished without much prayer. Specifically, they were to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. This speaks powerfully of the need for prayer in the work of evangelism (therefore pray) and the need for workers in the work of evangelism .

Jesus gave the seventy specific instructions that they were to display a particular attitude for their work in representing Jesus and His message. They were not to be distracted either by material concerns and were not to be distracted by tedious ceremonies of etiquette. They were to trust that God would provide for them through the generosity of others, and they were to thankfully receive what was offered to them – without begging from house to house.

Jesus wanted the seventy to heal and to preach. The healing was important because it showed that the Kingdom of God had come with power (as everyone expected it would), yet the power was evident in acts of mercy and kindness (which was not expected). The healing was a part of their preaching. As part of healing the sick, they described what the kingdom of God was about, based on what Jesus had taught and shown them. The remarkable display of God’s power in the work of the seventy was meant to prepare the people for the ultimate revelation of God’s power and kingdom in the coming/soon death and resurrection of Jesus.

Just like Jesus invited the disciples ,He is inviting us today to go boldly in faith into the world with the message of salvation and life in Jesus. He invites us to grow in discipleship with complete surrender and dependency in God for our journey on this earth as we proclaim God’s Word.

Jesus our Lord and Master, give us faith and the grace to proclaim you joyfully, surrendering our lives and our wills. Amen.

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