1After this the Lord appointed seventyothers and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this house!' 6And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9cure the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' 10But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.' 12I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.
13Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But at the judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15And you, Capernaum,
will you be exalted to heaven?
No, you will be brought down to Hades.
16Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.
17The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!" 18He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
In today's reading from Luke, Jesus commissions seventy two people to spread the news of his ministry. This is an expansion of the first twelve disciples. It is no longer the responsibility of just a few. They were told to go rather quickly, taking little with them because the time of harvest is near. The one thing they did have, and the one thing they relied on, was the Word of God. What surprised me most about this passage was that not a single one of the 72 resisted their commission to take God's Word to all.
The message of God's love and acceptance is to be spread by all of us. It is not just for a few, and it is not just for me, you, or the pastors. It would be so easy to say to yourself, "He was not talking to me. He was talking to the 72 'others'." "Others" clearly means THEM, right? Count yourself among the 72. We are the new 72! The words Jesus spoke then are the words that he speaks to all of us today. Ask yourself, how can you bring those long ago spoken words to the people today? The next time God presents a moment, think about being one of the 72 and presenting the Gospel to those around you. Go out, spread the good news of Jesus' love, forgiveness, and grace, relying on the Word of God.
Dear God, help me see myself among the 72 spreading your Word to all of the world, especially in those areas that are out of my usual settings so that I may grow and strengthen my confidence and ability to fully be your disciple. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Disciple ofJesus at St. John's