The term Apostle can refer to the twelve disciples of Christ. However, in Greek it was used more broadly.
Let’s look at what God has sent us to do.
Let’s examine Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 and what we can learn from 70 or 72 who were “apostled” by Jesus and what their mission was.
Luke 10:1 The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. 2 These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. 3 Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road.
5 “Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ 6 If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. 7 Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.
8 “If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you. 9 Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’ 10 But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!’ …
16 Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.”
17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!”
18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
70 Apostled? (vs 1-2)
Texts vary from 70 to 72 sent. The word apostle simply means a missionary and is not limited to the twelve. Jesus’ words could easily be translated as “The Lord now chose seventy other disciples and apostled [or ‘sent’] them.” An apostle is someone sent. Some famous names supposedly among the seventy were James, Mark, Luke, Barnabas, Philemon, Onesimus, Aquila, and a large number who became early church bishops. They were “sent” in pairs for safety and mutual encouragement, to prepare for Jesus’ coming, just as we prepare for His coming. At harvest, extra workers are needed to pick fruit or reap grain before it goes bad. So too is there an urgency to reaping the harvest of the kingdom.
Mission Instructions (vs 2-11)
Jesus gave them some mission instructions: ⬤ “pray” ⬤ for “more workers,” help is always needed in the church’s work. ⬤ We are “lambs among wolves,” beware of dangers. ⬤ Don’t take money, traveler’s bag, or extra sandals but rely on God, ⬤ “don’t stop to greet anyone” i.e. don’t delay. ⬤ bring peace and fertile ground will reveal itself by a peaceful response. ⬤ “Stay in one place,” being satisfied with the hospitality given and also easy to find. ⬤ “eating and drinking what they provide,” not being picky about food, ⬤ “accept hospitality,” it is deserved pay, not freeloading, ⬤ “if a town refuses to welcome you” abandon it to its fate, warn them and move on.
Eat, Heal and Tell (vs 8-9)
Jesus makes spreading the Gospel simple. We just eat, heal and tell. 1) Eating is a natural part of life and a good way to mix with others. Not everyone will invite us to eat with them, but we can often invite them to eat with us. Let us be known as hospitable. 2) We may not all be able to heal miraculously as Jesus did, but we can all help heal other people's hearts with kind words and encouragement. Look deep into people’s souls and see the need for healing. 3) Telling each other's stories doesn't mean that we shove Jesus down people’s throat, but it does mean that we tell something using the wisdom that God gives us.
Who Listens to You? (vs 16)
It’s very pleasant to be listened to, instead of being interrupted or someone only pretending to listen or worse, rejecting us. My father was a very successful salesman who loved the word no, because he knew it meant he did not have to waste any more time and could move on to the next potential customer. He taught me that sales was just a numbers game. Jesus Christ was despised and rejected and so will we be, but the more people we talk to, the more we win. He said that, “Whoever listens to you listens to me.” People don’t reject or accept us but Jesus. What a privilege and blessing to be listened to when we talk about Jesus.
What is Our Joy? (vs 17-20)
We may notice that the disciples had joy in doing the work of God. This is how it is meant to be. When we have joy in doing church work such as board meetings, performing church service, choir practice, Bible studies, letting our light shine in the community, then we are on the right track. When we are no longer enjoying our service to God, it is often an indicator that we are doing something we ought not to be doing like not taking a Sabbath day’s rest, are doing something for which God has not gifted us or any number of things. Our ultimate reason for joy is being one of the people whose names are written in heaven.
Just as Jesus apostled 70 disciples to go, eat, heal and tell, so he apostles every one of us. We are rarely sent far away. Most often our mission field is right here in our own backyard. Let us pray for an opportunity to tell about that which gives us true joy.