After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. Luke 10:1 NIV
After this…What is the “this”?
Immediately before Jesus sends out the 72, he is doing some serious sending of the disciples; these events occur:
- He and the disciples were walking along the road and someone told Jesus that he would follow him wherever he went. Other men whom Jesus invited to go with him were willing to go but needed extra time before leaving. Jesus didn’t seem to appreciate their responses and replied in a way that suggests that moving forward is important.
- Before that Jesus was not welcomed in a village and the disciples wanted to burn that sucker down. For their hot-headed opins? They got a rebuke from Jesus. No fire and brimstone was allowed in that village on that day.
- Right before that John wanted to stop someone who was driving out demons in Jesus’ name even though he wasn’t “one of them”. Jesus told him to leave the dude alone.
- Before THAT Jesus predicts his death but no one wanted to hear or understand what he was saying. Instead, these fully human disciples started arguing over who among them was the BEST. The GREATEST. Jesus told them that the least among them is the greatest.
- Before that a huge crowd was gathered and a desperate father came to ask Jesus to heal his son. This happened after the disciples were unable to heal him. Jesus seemed annoyed (“You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” Luke 9:41) and quickly healed the boy, to the amazement of the crowd. In that moment they thought he was pretty great.
- Before the healing, Luke recorded the story of the transfiguration. The disciples didn’t share a word of this experience with anyone.
- Before the transfiguration, Jesus predicted his own death. ….and on and on and on.
A lot of stuff had happened before we get to the part in the book of Luke where 72 are sent out ahead of Jesus. What’s my point? It’s no different for us. Life is happening all around us; we’re all having experiences; we’re forming opinions and like those sometimes-silly-but-still-chosen disciples, we are often very certain of our own perspective. And we’re pretty sure Jesus would agree with US! Which means that we have negative thoughts about the THEMS around us – all those folks who have drawn different conclusions based on their own life experience. Whether friend (disciples, men willing to follow) or stranger (healer dude) or even inhospitable communities like the Samaritan village that was unwelcoming to Jesus and his peeps – notice Jesus. No fire. No brimstone. No pissing contests. This is a guy on mission. He’s very clear about what it means to know and do the will of God. Tomorrow, let’s notice what he says about what is our business (and what is not). Today, ask yourself: those rules for “good” Christians…do I live by them? Why or why not? Do I judge the rules others live by? Why or why not? Don’t answer too quickly, instead, just notice yourself today – notice your following and your judging.