before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. ~ Luke 10:1 In the mission appreciation month of June, we tried, through the weekly articles, to raise your awareness of our mission undertakings around the region and we shared with you how we are going about obeying the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. I would like to close this series by looking at the verse above, particularly at the phrase, “the Lord appointed seventy others also”.
It is the Lord who appoints leaders. It is Jesus who knows which people are the ones who possess the right attitudes to be His first missionaries.
The number seventy is reminiscent of the seventy elders of Moses in Numbers 11:16-17. Just as those seventy men were destined to become the leaders of the Old Testament community, the seventy missionaries/disciples in Luke were destined to become the leaders of the New Testament community. In the Old Testament, the Lord God said He would take some of the Spirit that was on Moses and put it on them (the seventy) and they could also bear the burden of the people. In the New Testament, the implication is that the Spirit of Jesus would be transferred to these seventy missionaries/disciples, and that they would be equipped for leadership in the new movement of faith.
The seventy became the hands, feet, legs, hearts, and minds of Jesus. That was the way it was originally and still is true today. For Jesus to complete His mission in today’s world, He would need hands, feet, legs, hearts, and minds. The harvest is overwhelmingly great and Jesus needs willing hands, willing hearts, willing minds and willing spirits.
Jesus gets work done today through His disciples who are committed to doing the work. These were not religious professionals or priests, but common and ordinary people who were to be the leaders of the mission of outreach in their community.
The other thing we note from the verse is: He sent them on ahead of Him in pairs. The Lord sent His disciples out two by two. The twelve were sent out two by two. The seventy were sent out two by two.
This simple formula made for effective evangelism more than two thousand years ago and still works today. Some scholars traced the roots of the concept of going out “two by two” to the Old and New Testament injunction to have two witnesses in order to ascertain the truth (Deuteronomy 19:15; Numbers 35:30, Luke 10:10-15).
I believe the two-by-two formula simply conveys the idea that we should work together, hand-in-hand, unified by the Spirit and focus on the evergreen task of sharing the Gospel with the lost world.
Are you in on the work?
Pastor Robert Chew