Scripture: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. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 24:44-48)
The unique account of Jesus sending seventy others in pairs in Luke’s gospel is meant to echo the account of Moses choosing seventy elders to judge the tribes of Israel. Some manuscripts of Luke’s gospel contain seventy-two others to echo the two men who were not with the seventy and Moses but became judges anyway. Regardless of the number, the focus is on traveling in pairs in order to bring in the harvest. Luke’s second volume, the Acts of the Apostles, often portrays missionaries traveling in pairs to bring the good news of Jesus’s resurrection to the ends of the Earth.
They are sent with the message in order to gather in the harvest. Of course, harvest is a metaphor for the gathering of Israel. The author of Luke’s gospel favors the prophet Isaiah, who wrote about God gathering the people of Israel one by one, a reference to the prophet’s hope for the return of the survivors scattered by their Babylonian conquerors. The author of Luke’s gospel applies the metaphor to those who believe the announcement of the seventy-two, namely, that the kingdom of God has come near.
A spirituality of mission must include the sending of announcers with the message that God’s kingdom is near. Their response of faith makes others the fruit of the harvest. God’s kingdom, his presence in the world, is manifested through the ministry of Jesus (preaching, healing, feeding, etc.) and through the ministry of those sent on mission both to proclaim and to continue what Jesus did.
Journal/Meditation:What harvest have you gathered through your proclamation of Jesus’s ministry and your continuance of it?
Prayer: Jesus, you continue your ministry of enacting your Father’s kingdom through those you send today. Send me, and keep me faithful to your words and deeds. Grant that I may bring an abundant harvest to the kingdom, where you live and reign forever and ever. Amen.