Summary: Jesus sends out the 70 as an advance party with specific instructions. Do we follow the same instructions in our world? By knowing how to overcome big lies with personal teaching, we bring people to God.
July 7, 2013
Disciple or Apostle?
Two Women waiting at the Pearly Gates strike up a conversation. "How'd you die?" the first woman asks.
"I froze to death," says the second.
"That's awful," says the first woman. "How does it feel to freeze to death?"
"It's very uncomfortable at first," says the second woman. "You get the shakes and you get pains in all your fingers and toes. But eventually, it's a very calm way to go. You get numb and you kind of drift off, as if you're sleeping. How about you, how did you die?"
"I had a heart attack," says the first woman. "You see I KNEW my husband was cheating on me, so one day I showed up at home unexpectedly. I ran up to the bedroom, and found him alone, watching TV. I ran down to the basement, but no one was hiding there. I ran up to the second floor, but no one was hiding there either. I ran as fast as I could to the attic, and just as I got there, I had a massive heart attack and died."
The second woman shakes her head. "That's so ironic," she says.
"What do you mean?" asks the first woman.
"If you had only stopped to look in the freezer, we'd both still be alive!"
The woman who had the heart attack was on a mission to find the truth, much like we find a mission in our focus scripture of Luke 10:1 through 11 and 16 through 20. We see where He, Jesus, appointed 70 (The eastern Orthodox believe 72) to be His advance team, as would the Billy Graham Crusades or Bill Gaither’s Homecoming concerts today. You can’t just show up at a site and expect thousands to be there and respond. Today as in ancient times, details had to be arranged. However, these scriptures show an interesting and intelligent way of approaching a world set in its ways, with a new thought while preparing the way of the Lord. This process of change is sociology 101, coupled with psychology as practiced by Yeshua. This idea takes some stigma away from psychology that many churches propose. Science is advancing on how the human psyche works, which is the same so-called “science” the Master practiced during His ministry on earth. Had Sigmund Freud studied the Bible first and learned of Messiah’s ways, he would have been way ahead of his results gleaned psychological experiments. Auguste Comte, a French philosopher, recognized as the Father of Sociology, founded the “positive philosophy” in an attempt to remedy the social malaise of the French Revolution, yet the likes of Karl Marx and George Eliot took the power Comte discovered and used it for evil. Isn’t such action expected of humanity when truth and love are eliminated from science and knowledge? Watch what happens in this section of the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus appointed the 70, the advance team, to go ahead of Him and cover every place where he intended to go. This passage in Luke is the only place these people are mentioned but the sending forth is covered in Matthew. They were not just disciples, but were named Apostles, which means, “one set on a mission”. The Greek for disciple means “student,” so there is a big difference in the two and should not be interchanged. In the purest sense of the words, we are apostles after a time of discipleship, such as a student would earn a degree then set out a mission to teach.
These people went out in teams of two, as instructed, with the words from Christ, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Well, there He was, the Lord saying to “ask the Lord to add to the laborers.” There were so many witnesses to this statement that it is obviously intended for generations to come, plus, keep them focused on the mission. This mission was to add to the number of believers, who would then also pray for and take action to bring additional laborers to the harvest. The way to win the world is through the multiplying concept, just as multi-level companies do today.
Wait! Isn’t it more efficient to send individuals out to prepare the way of the Lord? Did Messiah make a mistake here? Would there have been greater coverage had they gone out one at a time? Dr. Victor Choudhrie details the reasoning for pairs going out in advance. There is more power in prayer when two or more agree. Where at least two agree in His Name, He is there. This protective practice means more power in the face of adversity. In Bible times, many religions were practiced and some were quite prevailing. It was not uncommon for a follower of Christ to be tortured or killed. Strength in numbers was as important then as now. The Holy Spirit gives believers different gifts, which is also true of these and modern-day apostles. These practical gifts were valuable in the diversity of cultures and beliefs of the time. Another advantage is that there is always a witness for every action, meaning that continuing refinement or critique’ was taking place in the way the Gospel was presented. Having a reliable and ever-present witness also meant protection from accusations that could lead to death. When two were in mission, they often helped train the other in talent and ability of the other, strengthening them both. And, when two people show up to do a job, those around them take the mission more seriously. In effect, mentoring is constantly flowing both ways, making the mission doubly important to the recipient and the pair.