Luke 10 Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two
10 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. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
You will notice the first three verses of Luke 10 are remarkably similar to Luke 9. The only real difference is Jesus sent 72 instead of 12 disciples. And in this case, he sends them into towns and places he was about to go. It's as if he said, "Okay the 12 of you who went out the first time, take 5 more with you." And the strategy was much the same. Find a person of peace and stay with them as long as they will have you. And if you go somewhere where you are not welcomed, shake the dust off your feet as a sign that even the dust is a warning of the coming judgement.
As we seek to carry out the Great Commission Jesus gave to us, we would do well to observe and reflect on Jesus' strategy to reach lost people. First of all, we see that Jesus took the disciples with him as he preached God's words and demonstrated God's works. After each occasion, Jesus took time to explain to his disciples what he was doing and how he was doing it. Then, in chapter 9, he gives them the right and power to do the things he was doing. Preach, heal, and cast out demons. But importantly, Jesus realizes he cannot do it all by himself. There is no way Jesus could have gotten this message out to as many towns and people without sending the 12, and then the 72.
In essence, Jesus was saying, the harvest is so plentiful, I just need more people to send out in my name and my power. I am sure these disciples were pretty "green". After all, they didn't have much experience preaching and casting out demons. Jesus didn't send them to 3 years of seminary school. They were taught in the "school of life" with Jesus their master teacher. Jesus' missionary training program consisted of four courses. 101 - I do it you watch. 201 - We do it together. 301 - You do it, I watch. 401 - Find someone to do what I just did with you.
Why was Jesus' missional strategy so effective? It was simple. It was intentional, and focused on trial and error, experiential learning. It was an "apprenticeship" model. I follow you around and learn from you until I can do what you do. Then, I train someone else to do what I can now do. Why was this strategy so important? Jesus had 3 years to reach all the people he could before he was taken back to be with the Father. He knew he couldn't do it all. He knew that this movement would last only as long as people were trained to carry on what he had started. Finally, he gave them the same power and authority He had been given to carry on what he started.
So the $64,000 question is ... if this is Jesus'strategy to build the church, why would we do it any differently! And yet, it is easy for churches to get caught up in so many other things than "making disciples who make disciples". So then there are really only two questions for a Christian to ask? One, who is teaching me to be a more committed follower of Jesus Second, who is God calling me to invest my life with. This is called "life on life" ministry, and you can't get it off the internet. It was and is the best training program ever used to reach all people for Christ.
The only question is are we going to use the only model Jesus gave, or are we going to try and re-create the wheel?"