Luke 10:1 (NIV) 1 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.
On verse 1: Why did Jesus send out his followers on this mission two by two? It’s because Jesus understood the importance of team, having someone who shares your goals and mission to work with so that there can be mutual comfort, encouragement, accountability and support. Similarly, when it comes to the mission God has for you, you weren’t made to do it alone. You need teammates.
Luke 10:2 (NIV) 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.
On verse 2: In Jesus’ eyes, the mission field is full of opportunities and full of people who are needing Jesus (“the harvest is plentiful”). What is lacking is not people to bless or opportunities to lead people to Jesus, but people willing to be used and to get in on those opportunities (“the workers are few”). So let’s be praying for God to send people who are willing to go and take advantage of those opportunities. Let’s also be praying that we would be those people who go too.
Luke 10:3 (NIV) 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
On verse 3: Jesus has given us a mission to bring the good news about him to the world around us, but keep in mind that not every person you meet in this world is to be trusted and not everyone will be on your side. We need to be careful, like lambs among wolves.
Luke 10:4 (NIV) 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
On verse 4: This was a short mission that Jesus was sending his disciples on, so Jesus tells his team to keep it extra simple – no purse, no bag, no extra pair of sandals, no extra baggage. Jesus also wants his team not to be distracted from their mission to go serve a particular town, so he tells them not to greet anyone on the way there.
What can we learn from this? When it comes to fulfilling the mission God has given you: (1) keep things simple, being wary of any tendency to overcomplicate things; and (2) keep focused. Don’t be easily distracted on the way.
Luke 10:5 (NIV) 5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’
On verse 5: When you meet people for the first time, seek to be a blessing (“say, ‘Peace to this house’”). Seek to bless others before you receive from them.
Luke 10:6-7 (NIV) 6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
On verses 6-7: In verses 5-7 Jesus is telling his disciples how to find a place to stay when they reach the town where they are called to serve. In verse 6 Jesus tells his disciples to look for “a man of peace”, that is, a person who is open to working with Jesus’ disciples and who is willing to use their home to support Jesus’ mission.
What can we learn from this? In every place where God has called you to serve, He will provide someone there (and sometimes a number of people) who will be a strategic and important connection for the mission God has you on. Treasure those people (“Stay in that house…do not move around from house to house” – v7) and be willing to receive help from those people (“eating and drinking whatever they give you” – v7).
Luke 10:8 (NIV) 8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you.
On verse 8: Hospitality was a huge part of ancient Israel’s culture. Jesus tells his disciples that when they are welcomed in a town, they are to “eat what is set before you”. In other words, when others try to serve you out of their own goodwill and heart, do not be overly picky and difficult; rather, be thankful for what they provide (“eat what is set before you”).
Luke 10:9 (NIV) 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’
On verse 9: Notice Jesus tells his disciples not only to preach words but also to serve the people in practical ways, like healing and caring for the sick. In reaching a world that needs Jesus, our actions and words must go together.
Luke 10:10-16 (NIV) 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. 13 “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. 16 “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
On verses 10-16: Here Jesus prepares his team for times when they will be rejected. Notice that Jesus does not tell his disciples to tuck their tails in between their legs and sulk whenever a town rejects them. Rather he tells his disciples that whenever they are rejected by any town, they are to respond with confidence and even with a bit of a warning (v11).
Jesus tells his disciples that “it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town” (v12). The city of Sodom was famous for having been destroyed by God in Genesis 18-19 because of all the sin that was happening there and despite God having given the city fair warning. Jesus says that any town that rejects his disciples are asking for wrath that is even greater than the wrath that Sodom received, for whoever rejects his disciples rejects him.
With that in mind, Jesus actually curses two towns – Korazin and Bethsaida – who rejected Jesus despite Jesus performing miracles there. To illustrate the hard-heartedness of Korazin and Bethsaida, Jesus says that even Tyre and Sidon – two cities famous for being destroyed because they rejected God – would have repented if Jesus had performed for them the miracles he performed for Korazin and Bethsaida. He also predicts a similar fate for Capernaum, another town that had rejected him despite the miracles he had performed there (Luke 4:23).
What can we learn from this? There are real repercussions for rejecting Jesus. When we reject Jesus, we are rejecting the only protection God has given us from His wrath, the only provision God has made for our sins, and the only person who can save us. To reject Jesus is to reject God (“he who rejects me rejects him who sent me”).
Lord Jesus, today may I be one who keeps things simple and who stays focused. May I not overcomplicate things unnecessarily and may I not be easily distracted from what is most important. May I be one who blesses others first when I see them, who is content and easy to work with. May my actions and words go together in pointing to You. And may I not be too deflated by rejection, which I know will happen from time to time, but rather remain confident, placing my hope in You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!