Summary: All who proclaim salvation in Christ must be 1) Content with the Lord’s Provision (Luke 10:2-4), 2) Faithful to the Lord’s Message (Luke 10:5–9), and 3) Diligent to declare Judgment (Luke 10:10–12).
For those who were eagerly awaiting the latest birth to the British royal family, there was an unusual stealth campaign. Members of the family and staff were tight lipped as to the gender and name of the child until birth. The announcement of the birth was through a combination of posted notices and twitter tweets. The announcement of the birth listed the sex, weight, delivery time and soon after, the name of the child. His name tied together the lineage to the kingship.
To announce the kingship of Jesus, he commissioned seventy-two-two kingdom missionaries, who were sent by the King to announce His presence. The seventy-two were willing to deny themselves, take up their crosses daily, and follow Him. Like the Twelve they were ordinary men, chosen for an extraordinary task. The message the seventy-two proclaimed was that the kingdom of God had come near because the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, was present—the same message proclaimed by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:2), Jesus (Matt.4:17, 23; 9:35; Luke 4:43), and the apostles (Matt. 10:7). A kingdom is a realm, sphere, or territory ruled by an absolute monarch who functions with absolute authority. In the kingdom of God, He is the “blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). In a general sense, all creation is included under His sovereign rule in His universal kingdom (Ps. 103:19), but the kingdom of salvation is the theme of all gospel preaching. Those who enter that aspect of His kingdom through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ submit themselves completely to His authority and receive all the benefits of eternal life. The rest of humanity is in the kingdom of the world (Rev. 11:15), under the rule of Satan (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Acts 26:18; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2); there are no free agents. The gospel is the good news that sinners can be forgiven, delivered from the kingdom of darkness into “the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13), and thereby reconciled to God, who gives them permanent peace, comfort, and joy both in time and eternity.
The phrase in verse 1 after this indicates that the sending of the seventy-two took place subsequent to the events of chapter 9, which marked the close of the Lord’s Galilean ministry and the beginning of His journey to Jerusalem. That journey would last for several months, and take place mainly in Judea and east of the Jordan in Perea. It would end with Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem for the events of Passion Week, which would culminate in His death, resurrection, and ascension. Early in that journey, the Lord appointed these seventy-two messengers (some translations read “seventy-two-two”; the manuscript evidence is not clear as to which reading is correct). Anadeiknumi (appointed) appears elsewhere in the New Testament only in Acts 1:24, where it refers to the Lord’s choice of Matthias to replace Judas as an apostle. Jesus sovereignly chose the seventy-two-two, just as He did the twelve apostles. It seems that the twelve apostles were representatives of Israel (with its twelve tribes) and the seventy-two-two seventy-two-two (there are seventy-two nations listed in Genesis 10—the Septuaguint version details seventy-two-two). (Bentley, M. (1992). Saving a Fallen World: Luke Simply Explained. Welwyn Commentary Series (p. 155). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.)
After choosing these seventy-two men, Jesus sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he Himself was about to go/going to come. Sending messengers “two by two” (ana duo) was common not only among the early Christians (Mark 6:7; Luke 7:18–19; Acts 13:2; 15:27, 39–40; 17:14; 19:22) but also among the Jews. It provided companionship, protection, and the double witness prescribed in Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15 (Joachim Jeremias, New Testament Theology. The Proclamation of Jesus [New York: Scribners, 1971], p. 235).
As well, the Old Testament law required that “on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed” (Deut. 19:15).Thus the testimony these men gave about Jesus in the towns and villages would conform to the law’s requirements. The Lord’s instruction to the seventy-two provides insight for believers today, who are all called to distribute the good news of salvation, the best way for us to love our neighbors. Three requirements rise from His charge to the seventy-two: all who proclaim salvation in Christ must be 1) Content with the Lord’s Provision (Luke 10:2-4), 2) Faithful to the Lord’s Message (Luke 10:5–9), and 3) Diligent to declare Judgment (Luke 10:10–12).
In order to Love our Neighbors in sharing the good news of salvation we must first, be:
1) Content with the Lord’s Provision (Luke 10:2-4)
Luke 10:2-4 And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. (ESV)