After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.
It’s odd, isn’t it? The Lord didn’t appoint seventy rabbis and send them to synagogues. No, he appointed ‘others’ and sent them to every town and place where he himself intended to go. It’s almost as though he knew that there were people living their lives, getting on with day-to-day things, that needed ministering to. Of course, He didn’t explicitly say DON’T go to the synagogues, and I’m sure that was often their first port of call, but also the workplaces, homes, shops, street corners. He didn’t ask His disciples to limit their ministry to designated places of worship, He asked them to go to where people were.
I wonder how those seventy felt as they got to their town or place? Nervous? Excited? Scared? They weren’t lone operators, they had someone else on their team but, still…sent out into the world. What was their mission? Was it entirely practical – you know: arrange accommodation, maybe put up a few posters? Or was it about beginning ministry, doing the groundwork, sharing the Gospel?
Did He send out complementary teams? A great preacher with a healer? A fantastic teacher working alongside a miracle worker? A wise old head with an energetic young firebrand?
Or did He just pair folk up randomly and ask them to use whatever skills they had to do the best they could in meeting the needs they found in the places they went to? It’s almost as though Jesus trusted them. Just like He trusts us. To make a positive difference in whatever way they could, in whatever way we can, to people that were there. To people that are here. Wherever that may be. Not just in our churches.
Lord, it sometimes feels as though we are the lone voice crying out in the wilderness. We know that you are with us yet sometimes the task, our mission, feels overwhelming. Help us to feel your presence. Help us to use our gifts. Help us to be strong in our faith So that the work we do in Your name may help Your kingdom come, Your will be done. Amen.
Leo Roberts is the Children and Young People’s Officer for the North Western Synod.