Luke 10 records Jesus’s commands as he commissions the work of the seventy. Jesus is asking his disciples to join him in the work that he is doing proclaiming the Kingdom of God. In order to increase his effectiveness, Jesus sends some of the disciples out as missionaries. He gives them some interesting commands: don’t take any money with you, don’t take any extra clothes, don’t greet anyone on the road. Yet ultimately he tells them whether they are accepted or shunned they are to preach the same message, “The Kingdom of God has come near.” While many parts of this passage are relevant, one interesting section comes in the very first verse. After this, the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. The disciples were sent out almost as advanced scouts. They were in some ways the prep team; sent to help get things ready for the coming Christ. Just as John the Baptist came first to prepare the way of the Lord, to make straight God’s paths, to turn the hearts of the people back to God to make them ready for the Messiah, the disciples were sent ahead to preach the news so that when Jesus arrived he might be recognized.
It’s interesting that Jesus is sending them to places that he himself intends to go. It’s not that Jesus is sending the disciples to cities he doesn’t have time to visit. Jesus is not a politician running for office who doesn’t have time to visit every individual town so he sends a delegation in his place to represent him. Instead, Jesus is sending his disciples on ahead of him, to be his witnesses and image bearers, in the very places where he will soon come to proclaim the good news. The disciples are sent to proclaim the Kingdom has come near, and it arrives with the coming of Jesus.
I wonder what would happen if we saw our lives wrapped up in the mission of the seventy? What would happen if we understood our role to involve going to various places witnessing to the reality that in Jesus the Kingdom of God has come and is coming? And not that we were being sent necessarily as missionaries who are taking Jesus to some foreign place, but that we were sent to the very places where God was both present and coming to proclaim the good news of the Messiah. That makes our role of participating with Christ seem very important.
To take it a step further, how would it change our perspective to understand that Jesus is not sending us to some foreign country or even some city that we’ve never been to, but instead God is sending us to be witnesses proclaiming the Kingdom has come near in the very places that we already are? That the places Jesus is sending us ahead to are the very places we frequent everyday. How would it change our perspective to understand that Jesus has specifically sent us to our place of employment to be a witness preparing for the arrival of Jesus? Whether our profession is health care, teaching, or pest control; we have specifically been sent to that place to proclaim the Kingdom has come near. And our primary responsibility is not just to do our job, even though working hard is a way to honor God, but is to be a faithful witness. Would we approach our job any differently?
God is not just sending us to our places of employment to proclaim the kingdom, but everywhere. When we are at the grocery store, our primary responsibility is not to buy groceries but to proclaim the Kingdom has come near. When we are watching our children play sports, our primary responsibility is not to cheer and enjoy the game, but to proclaim the Kingdom has come near. When we are on vacation at Disney World or the beach, our primary responsibility is not to relax and have fun, but to proclaim the Kingdom has come near. Jesus has specifically sent us to these places, we have been called for such a time as this, to proclaim the Kingdom.
We have been invited to join the mission of the seventy, to join the work of Jesus, to go where Jesus is planing to go, and to proclaim the Kingdom has come near. We have been called in the everydayness of our lives to see our responsibility as ones who have been sent to proclaim the Kingdom, preparing the way for the Lord.