Unencumbered by baggage – Thursday, 3rd week in ordinary time – Lk 10:1-9

This is Luke’s longest meditation on mission and follows immediately after Jesus has laid down the cost of discipleship. In yesterday’s reading, three candidates, two of whom wished to follow Jesus and one whom Jesus hoped he would follow Him, were all turned down. Why? Because the condition of discipleship demanded a sense of urgency; work in the Kingdom of God had to be done immediately (and not after retirement as so many bargain with the Lord).

Interestingly the Lord now appointed seventy (other ancient manuscripts read seventy two) and sent them on ahead of Him in pairs to every town and place where He himself intended to go.  After the rejection of the three would be candidates in 9:57-62 Jesus now seems to have finalised the list of candidates who wished to follow Him and He has handpicked seventy of them.

It thus becomes clear that not all those who desire to serve the Lord are chosen by Him. For the Lord, it seems, certain criteria need to be fulfilled before one is and chosen and ‘sent out’ (made apostle) into the harvest. It would make poor sense to only ‘appoint’ people who are filled with desire but with no dedication to the task.

The Gospel also tells us that Jesus sent them out in pairs ‘ahead of Him to every town and place where he intended to go’. Cleary Jesus had a plan in His mind. The promotion of the Kingdom of God cannot be some haphazard job. The Lord clearly had a winning strategy in mind for the seventy were to cure the sick and proclaim that the kingdom of God had come near to them. After the people were sufficiently mesmerised by the ‘trailer’ He would come in as the ‘main show’.

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