The number "seventy" was a favorite and prominent number in the lifestyle affairs among the Jews. In the bible, you will find many scriptures that speak concerning this number and the significant role the number has played in the history of the Hebrew culture. Here are a few examples: In Genesis 46:27, The number of people in the family of Jacob that came to Egypt and lived in the land o Goshen after being driven from their homeland in the midst of a 7 year drought that caused famine across the land consisted of 70 people.
In Numbers 11:16, verse 25, the number of elders that Moses appointed to aid him was seventy.. In the book of Jeremiah, God told Jeremiah to tell the people because of their idolatry and out right rebellion they would be captured by the Babylonians and remain in captivity for 70 years. The number of members which composed the great Sanhedrin Council, also known as the Great Council of the Nation was also 70..Jesus, in answering the question of how many times must we forgive our brother (fellow man) said that we must forgive them seventy times seven
Concerning These 70 disciples
Along with the twelve disciples in which eleven of the original after Pentecost ultimately became Apostles, these men help make up 82 men, preachers and healers who Jesus endowed with the Holy Spirit. These 70 disciples were sent out by Jesus for a different reason than he sent out the twelve, even though they virtually did the same type work.. These 70 were sent out into cities and places Jesus had not visited as of yet. Their job along with preaching and healing the sick was to announce that the Kingdom of God was at hand and the Messiah was soon to come to their city.
The apostles did evangelistic work, both with Jesus while they were sitting under His teachings and instructions and after Jesus went to Calvary and after His resurrection and ascended back into glory, these apostles were to carry out the establishing of physical churches all throughout the region through the preaching and teaching of the Gospel.
In chapter 9, Jesus sent out the twelve to evangelize the city. He sent out on two by two equipped with power and authority over all demons and the anointing to cure diseases. He told them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. When Jesus sent them out, He sent them in teams of 2’s in teams of 2. They were told to take nothing extra on their journey and wherever they lodged in the city, stay there until it was time to go to another town. And if they don’t receive you, shake the dust off your feet and go on to the next city. And as they went through each town, there was preaching and healing everywhere they went. . Jesus lets us know here that wherever the Word of God goes forth in power and in the glory of the Lord, truth preaching takes place and healing will follow.
As His original disciples, the twelve heard his instructions. They were eye-witnesses of his miracles; they were privy to his confrontations with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Scribes, as well as His brutal suffering after praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. By the time Jesus was nailed to the cross to be crucified, Judas had betrayed Him, Peter had denied Him and all went into hiding or went back fishing but John. John the Apostle stayed at the cross and witnessed His death, Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection and before he ascended back to heaven on a cloud gave them their final instructions before He went away on a cloud. Jesus told them to tarry in Jerusalem and wait for the receiving of the Holy Spirit . In Acts 1:8, He said they would receive power after the Holy Ghost come upon them and after this happened, they would be witnesses unto Him in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world.
All of this they would do. So after he died, after He was buried in the borrowed tomb, after He rose in 3 days and after He ascended into the clouds, and after they tarried into Jerusalem in the upper room and waited to receive power when the Holy Ghost came upon them some 45 days later…These trained Apostles "then" would go out as a great evangelistic team and do the "greater works" of proclaiming the Gospel , healing the sick and sharing the good news and testifying to everything they saw, all that they heard and experienced while they were with Jesus to a sin-sick dying world being empowered and armed with the whole armor of God. They would be able to say one day this same Jesus that we saw resurrected, alive and went up into the clouds will one day in like manner come bursting through the clouds as King of King and Lord of Lords. What a team…What a great task!
It's in this 10th chapter as I said earlier, Luke, the beloved physician and writer of this biblical book brings before us the formation of a special evangelistic task force, a team of 70 people that Jesus sent out into city after city to pave the way for His arrival in their cities. This event is a continuation of what he did with the 12 original disciples in chapter 9. In that chapter, Jesus made it clear that He was nearing the end o His ministry in person on earth and was already focused on the upcoming trial and crucifixion to take place in and outside Jerusalem on the hill that was called Calvary.
That’s what the Psalmist said in Psalms 107:20 . He tells us God sends His Word and that sent word will heal and a deliver us from destruction. My brothers and sisters, whenever God sends a word of healing and/ or a word of deliverance, they are the kind of Word that makes you wonder in awe and say like the Psalmist said in Psalms 107:21-22 : “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, And declare His works with rejoicing”.
Well, their evangelistic campaign was so successful, they came back full of joy and tell Jesus all about it.
How did Jesus respond? Glad you asked! Jesus took them to a desert place. He tried to get them out of town privately, but the word got around that they left town, so the crowd followed Him. Jesus then talked to them about the Kingdom of God and heal them of whatever ailed them. Not only that, Jesus took 2 fish and five loaves o bread and fed five thousand and took up 12 baskets of leftovers.
So in this text, Jesus sends out another group, a much larger group than the 12 This time, He sends a group of 70 to evangelize on a temporary mission to each city. Before they left to their mission, Jesus said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Jesus told them: “Go your way: behold, I send you out as lambs, to an assignment that is among wolves.”
Notice how he sent them out! He sent them out two and two There was much wisdom in sending them out this way. In fact, there were several good reasons they were sent out this way:
1.To help each other in tests, loneliness, and discouragements (Eccl 4:9-12; Every now and then we get discouraged along the way. Sometimes, we feel like Lord, I ain’t but me one. Solomon weighs in and gives us some wisdom concerning this in Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12: Solomon said: “two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. There is strength in numbers.
2.To lift each other up when the other one falls and to be a balance in success
3.To strengthen each other in weakness when burdened. He sent them two and two, so they might strengthen and encourage one another. If one fall, the other will help to raise him up. He sent them, not to all the cities of
4.For unity in prayer (Matt 18:19)
5.For protection in attack (Eccl 4:12; Deut 32:30)
6.For confirmation of preaching (Deut 17:6; 19:15; Matt 18:16)
So as we look at today’s theme “God’s team for God’s task”, lets look at some reasons why we must first function as a team and then focus on the task God assigns to us:
One of the reasons we must work as a team is we are sent out as sheep doing a work among the wolves. Every day while we’re on the battlefield for our Lord, we face all kinds of wolves each and every day. Now when we talk about wolves, Jesus said that the wolves are greedy rulers, hypocrites and false prophets and teachers. The Apostle Paul identified other kinds of wolves, spiritual wolves that translate into the works of the flesh. In Galatians 5:16-21 identifies these wolves and tells us how to deal overcome each and every one of them. Paul said this is how you deal with them: Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh…What’s the reason? Here it is: the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. They are contrary to one another. So the things the team should be doing sometimes don’t get done because the war sometimes can get real fierce. But if the team members are led by the Holy Spirit, than the grace laws of God are in full operation in our lives and we are no under the law. Now what kind of spiritual wolves will the team have to deal with while we are doing God’s important task?
You’ll have to deal with adulterous wolves, fornicating wolves, unclean wolves, lascivious wolves, Idolatry wolves, witchcraft wolves, wolves of wrath, strife, seditions and heresies. Then there are envying wolves, murdering wolves drunken wolves, and reveling kinds of wolves . Paul said, I told you in the past that those who exhibit a wolf like behavior and do these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Like Jesus said, I’m sending you out as sheep among wolves, just make sure that you’re not a wolf in sheep’s clothing
III. How are we as Team members on God Holy Team carry out the fellowship of the Covenant and principles of God’s Word and evangelistic mandate
We must set out with prayer (v. 2); and, in prayer, We must be duly affected with the necessities of the souls of men, which called for their help. We must look about, and see how great the harvest was and is.
We must see what abundance of people there were that wanted to have the gospel preached to them and were willing to receive it, nay, that had at this time their expectations raised of the coming of the Messiah and of his kingdom. When we look around and see the hatred and the malice and godless agendas that are openly displayed even in some of our own homes, we must remember we still have a charge to keep and a God to glorify.
We must remember that God never intended for any man to go to hell and we must do our due diligence to share the good news of the Gospel to every one , whether in the long run they choose to accept it or reject it. This world is ripe for a great harvest for the Lord, and it’s going to take a team effort to accomplish that harvest. The songwriter put it all in perspective: How to reach the masses, men of every birth…For the answer Jesus gave us the key….He said and I, if I be lifted from the earth, I’ll draw all men unto me. You see, the world is hungry for the living bread….lift the Savior up for them to see…He said if I be lifted up from the earth…I’ll draw all men unto me. Lift Him up…I said lift HIM up….still He speaks from eternity..
On a personal note: If you are on God’s team, every Ministers, deacons, and everybody else in the Body of Christ should apply themselves to their mission work with a deep concern for precious souls. We must see them as the riches of this world, which ought to be secured for Christ.
Secondly, those of us who say we’re standing on the promises of God but when it comes to evangelism, we are sitting on the premises. That’s why the laborers are so few. In Jesus’ earthly day, the Jewish teachers were many, but they were not labors; they did not gather in souls to God's kingdom, but were more concerned about their personal interests and political affiliation. Those of us that are good ministers , good soldiers in the army of the Lord do wish that there were more good ministers, and more good soldiers, for there is a lot more work to do and plenty work for more. It is common for tradesmen not to care how few there are of their own trade; but Christ would have the laborers in his vineyard reckon it a matter of complaint when the laborers are few. In other words it’s not enough to to just care about it we need to complain about it.
They must earnestly desire to receive their mission from God, that he would send them forth as laborers into his harvest who is the Lord of the harvest, and that he would send others forth; for, if God send them forth, they may hope he will go along with them and give them success. Let them therefore say, as the prophet (Isa 6:8), Here I am, send me. It is desirable to receive our commission from God, and then we may go on boldly.
We must set out with an expectation of trouble and persecution: "Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves; but go your ways, and resolve to make the best of it. Your enemies will be as wolves, bloody and cruel, and ready to pull you to pieces; in their threatening and reviling, they will be as howling wolves to terrify you; in their persecutions of you, they will be as ravening wolves to tear you. But you must be as lambs, peaceable and patient, though made an easy prey of." It would have been very hard thus to be sent forth as sheep among wolves, if he had not endued them with his spirit and courage.
We must not encumber ourselves with a load of provisions, as if we were going a long voyage, but depend upon God and our friends to provide what was convenient for them: "Carry neither a purse for money, nor a scrip or knapsack for clothes or victuals, nor new shoes and salute no man by the way.". Not that Christ would have his ministers to be rude, morose, and unmannerly; but, have an urgency about the Lord’s business. We must go as men in haste, that had their particular places assigned them, where they must deliver their message, and in their way directly to those places must not hinder or retard themselves with needless ceremonies or compliments. We must go as men of business, business that relates to another world, which they must be intent in, and intent upon, and therefore must not entangle themselves with conversation about secular affairs.
We all ministers of the word; and ambassadors for Jesus Christ attend to your office. We must go as serious men, and men in sorrow. It was the custom of mourners, during the first seven days of their mourning, not to salute any, Job 2:13. Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and it was fit that by this and other signs his messengers should resemble him, and likewise show themselves affected with the calamities of mankind which they came to relieve, and touched with a feeling of them.Finally,
We must show, not only their goodwill, but God's good-will, to all to whom they came, and leave the issue and success to him that knows the heart, v. 5,6.