God’s Word for You
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, June 12, 2018
3 “Go. See how I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not carry a money bag, or a knapsack, or sandals. Do not visit with anyone along the way.
Jesus wants the seventy-two to notice that they are like sheep. In fact, they’re more defenseless than sheep; they’re like lambs. But they’re not heading into the wolves, they’re already among the wolves. All of their protection and work comes from Jesus. “I,” he says, “am the one sending you out.” He wants them to rely on him for everything they will need. What does that mean? They should leave right this moment (“Go”), just as they are, without stopping for the sort of containers they used for wallets or backpacks or even an extra pair of sandals. Recall that when the Israelites wandered for their forty years, their clothes and sandals didn’t wear out (Deuteronomy 29:5).
Jesus also tells them not to make any extended greeting to the people that they met. The verb aspazomai (ἀσπάζoμαι) means more than just “say hello.” It means to greet someone politely, to stop and see how everyone is doing; to exchange pleasantries. Jesus isn’t telling them to be rude, but not to waste time since their mission is urgent. This isn’t his permanent command to all who share the gospel, of course! But for the 72, while they were on the road from place to place, it was time to move, not time to schmooze.
5 Whenever you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’
This greeting brings the gift with it. It says peace and it brings peace. This is the peace that comes from the gospel, of knowing that all our sins are covered, as David said: “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered” (Psalm 32:1). We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
6 And if a peaceful person is there, your peace will rest on him, but if not, it will return to you. 7 Dwell in that same house. Eat and drink whatever they give you, because the worker is worthy of his pay. Do not move around from house to house.
While they were staying there, they would proclaim the gospel to everyone in the town. God promised Isaiah, “My word…will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). Jesus’ words reflect the same thing. His peace would certainly enter and rest on a house where faith was found. If there was no “son of peace” there, no one who would receive the offered peace of the gospel, then even the greeting would not be lost. How would this be so? The peace offered through the greeting would not rest on the house, but “it will return to you,” which means that the peace would further bless the greeters.
“The worker is worthy of his pay” is an important passage with regard to all of our called workers. 1 Peter 5:2 warns that a pastor or servant of the church should “not be greedy for money,” and on the other side, 1 Corinthians 9:9 warns congregations not to “muzzle the ox.” This isn’t something we need to dwell on unless a worker is not being taken care of by his church. Jesus’ command is simply this: “The worker is worthy of his pay.”
Jesus also encourages the men not to move from house to house while in a town. This was the clearest evidence for them that their Lord was always looking after them. No matter what home into which they would be invited, it would be adequate for their needs as long as they were there. Also, there would be no jealousy among other families of the towns who might offer to give the disciples “better” accommodations.
This was the beginning of Jesus’ instructions to his disciples. His warnings will come next.
Pastor Timothy Smith
To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.