Now seventy remained there and were ready to follow their teacher. But instead of telling them to follow his lead, the Lord dispersed them in every direction with his own hand of blessing. Jesus paired them like pickers in a vast and ripe vineyard. All those gathered could tell this was the beginning of something radically new, something totally beyond them, reaching far outside their dreams and expectations. God was doing something different here–this was a world-shaping moment as well as a faith-forming mission. Jesus’s presence assured them how mystically God-sized yet how commonly simple this adventure was going to be. Indeed there was no place Jesus was sending them that he would not go, and no border he was asking them to cross that he was not planning to cross himself, and no social boundary he was asking them to step over that he would not step over when the time was right.
He said to them plainly, “Yes! The orchards of every earthly people are ready too– laden with fruit. There’s plenty of work for you in my Father’s vineyard. Join with me in asking the Father for more willing hands to help with this sacred task.”
He instructed them further, “Go where I am sending you; go to the places where you never thought God could be, to the very edges of society–there you will find God’s children too. You are innocent, fragile and vulnerable to every threat and danger, yet I am saying ‘Go!’ You will not need anything that you don’t already possess–the way is prepared for you. Go and do not delay.
“When you reach the ordinary places I will soon be going, humbly and confidently present your primary gift–the peace of God’s hand, saving and sovereign. It will be obvious to you if they accept my peace. If they recognise it, rejoice, but if they do not see God’s open invitation leave it at their door. Stay in the home of those that welcome you, whether it is plain or foreign, it is a sacred place. Enjoy company at their table, share their cup and eat from the same loaf of bread. Whatever is served to you, accept it as though receiving it from me, the Lord of the Harvest. Be humble and honour that house by staying within it and not moving to another you might think more suitable. For those whom you once thought excluded from God’s promised deliverance are actually God’s children too, in need of release.
“When you reach a town, share the welcome of God openly with the people there. You will eat what is provided and you will heal those who are sick and urge them, saying, ‘God’s kingdom with ever-growing borders has reached you. Can you see it?’ But when you come to a town and are turned away, return to the market square and let those people know, ‘Although, you have not listened to our message and cannot see our Lord’s hope extended to you–we hold nothing against you. Yet there is but one singular unrivalled matter that we will leave with you: God’s kingdom with ever- growing borders is rising like the sun against the shadows. Look! You will not see it hiding in the darkness!’ Truth be told, Sodom in all its arrogance would have been more receptive than that town.