Day 106: The Sending of the 70 Others

Luke 10:1 :

Now after these things, the Lord also appointed seventy others, and sent them two by two ahead of him into every city and place, where he was about to come.

I want to look at this verse alone because I think that it is very important for us to not ignore it. This chapter starts out a lot like the last chapter. In the last chapter, Jesus sent out twelve chosen ones, this time He sends out 70. This was a very organized approach to spreading the news to Israel that the Kingdom of God was near.

One of the big reasons that I want to pause on this verse is to emphasize what it is not. Jesus sent out only 70 people, presumably Jewish. He didn’t send out everyone. This is important as we consider the next few verses. I say this because it isn’t uncommon for people to take the following verses out of context and attempt to apply them directly to the whole world, or all Christians, or to attempt to make the rules that they were to live by, our rules today. Jesus wasn’t talking to us when He said the things we are about to read. He was talking to this select group of people who were sent out ahead of Him as He physically visited Jewish cities.

So, Jesus isn’t directly telling believers that they must evangelize by going two by two “into every city and place” although it may be a wise option. If we look at the rest of the Bible, it isn’t obvious that Jesus intended us to strictly follow this pattern later. Often we do read that Christians traveled together. Sometimes, however, they also traveled alone. That being said, the Bible does say in general that doing things in groups of two is a wise thing. The Bible says that it makes us stronger, and that three is even stronger:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 :

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls, and doesn’t have another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one keep warm alone? If a man prevails against one who is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

What I understand from Luke 10:1 is that Jesus was making a very certain announcement of His arrival to Israel as their future King. I think we can learn real lessons from what He is about to tell the 70 others, but we need to be careful not to over-extend the connection to Christians today. We need to look at what is said in the context of the other things that God said in the Bible to Christians as well. Jesus isn’t going to go against His own word so it is good to take the rest of the Bible together with what we read here.