Today’s instruction to the seventy disciples he is about to send into the villages and towns illustrates the kind of radical dependence on God that he knows they will need to exercise if their mission is to be fruitful. So he expressly commands them to take no purse, no bag, no sandals with them. They are to rely on the hospitality of strangers. They are to accept without complaint the food and lodging they are given. They are not to be burdened down with either possessions or expectations, ready to move on at a moment’s notice if their message is not accepted or if they are not welcomed.
The seventy he has chosen are to be his agents, his ambassadors. They are to go before him, announcing the Good News that the kingdom of God is near. They are given all that they need, including the ability to heal the sick and the power to proclaim peace. But only as they trust God for everything.
It is a good lesson for us, isn’t it. Reminding us of our constant need for God, calling to mind that it is God’s message not ours, God’s provision not ours, God’s power not ours. “Without me, you can do nothing.”
There will be places where they are not welcomed. There may even be danger and persecution (he sends them “like lambs into the midst of wolves”). But God has entrusted them with this mission and it is to God that they must look for every provision and protection.
They are dependent on God. But in a way, God is also depending on them. Imagine the faith and trust that Jesus must have had to muster to send out these seventy disciples – hardly trained, barely qualified. If the Twelve had trouble grasping his message and his methods, imagine what raw recruits these must have been. Still he sends them out, entrusting his mission and his message to them, asking them simply to announce Good News and offer peace and healing wherever they go.
It should give us pause to think that God has entrusted God’s message and mission to us as well. Who are we to speak and act on behalf of God? But the realization of our weakness is not a barrier for, like these disciples, we too are asked only to rely on God. Do the best you can, and trust everything to God.
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