Luke 10:1–16

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Again Jesus sends out His disciples out to do ministry on their own, this time seventy (or seventy-two; there is disagreement in the manuscripts about the exact number) and in pairs. Their instructions are largely the same as when He sent out the twelve: don’t pack extra provisions but rely on God and the kindness of strangers, stay in one house at a village, and if no one receives you, shake the dust off your feet in rebuke. Jesus also adds “greet no one on the road”, which sounds odd without the cultural context. Within the culture, it was even stranger. It was customary when traveling to exchange elaborate greetings with the people you passed on the way. Unlike today, there were not nearly as many people traveling between cities, so seeing someone on the road was more of a special event, I suppose. We aren’t told why Jesus told them not to practice this custom, but I’ll guess it was a way to help them keep focused on the mission and not to boast in their eloquence. These greetings could easily degenerate into flattery and humble-brag contests, and the followers of Jesus need to stay far away from pride.

As He is giving the instructions for the journey, Jesus also pronounces imprecations against the cities and towns that will reject the disciples’ message. Sodom and Gomorrah were famously wicked cities from the Patriarch’s times, but their punishment will seem light and easy compared to the one given to those who reject Jesus and His message. There is no excuse given for wickedness, but greater condemnation comes on those who have heard what is right and rejected it anyway. Heed the call of the Lord to repent of your wicked ways, and cast yourself upon His mercy to save you from the coming judgement! Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, and woe to you if you do not do so willingly.

You are both merciful and just, and You are long-suffering but not ever-suffering. Come back swiftly and destroy wickedness and evil.

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