After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.
“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
In St. Luke’s Gospel, Jesus sends out 70 (or 72, depending on what version of the Bible you like to use) disciples to tell of the coming Kingdom. The disciples do as Jesus says, and do some amazing things in His name as they journey.
They are ecstatic, on a spiritual high when they return, rejoicing over the amazing miracles that they have performed and witnessed. Jesus’s response, however, isn’t a high five or pat on the back. He speaks to the 70, and instructs them to not get so excited over these things.
What’s He up to? I mean, when you heal the sick, cast out demons, and experience those moments when heaven touches earth, shouldn’t we be fired up? Dadgum, if I heal my daughters of not being potty-trained, and cast the Duggars out of my television, you better believe I’m gonna be doing some fist-pumping in my house! Maybe even a little twerk…In the name of the Lord, of course.
What is Jesus doing? He’s shaping his disciples. Think of it this way: In order to make a great sword, a smith allows the metal in his hand to get red hot in the fire. When it reaches the point that it’s untouchable because of the heat it has absorbed from its maker, the smith takes it, and plunges it into a tub of ice cold water. This gives the sword integrity and strength. It lessens the chance it will break when pressure is applied. It readies it to fulfill it’s purpose.
The point? In order to become an effective instrument, one cannot function on fire alone. You’ll eventually melt in the heat, or the fire that shapes you will fade away when the heat source isn’t obviously present and within reach. Jesus knows he’ll be going away, and these 70 will have to be sustainable, enduring, useful tools. He lets them get hot, then He cools them off in order to finish them into what they need to be. In tempering their enthusiasm, he helps them to gain a bigger perspective on faith and life.
Here’s the big picture:
“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
Jesus is saying, “Yes, these things you have done in My name are great. Remember, though…these things are temporary. It’s eternal matters, the things you can’t see in front of your face, that you need to remember and focus on.”
Consider Jesus’ miracles, the tangible things that led His disciples to believe in His teachings:
- He fed thousands with a few fish and a couple of pieces of bread. A great miracle, but…The people who eventually got hungry again.
- He healed tons of sick people. I have no verification of this, but I’m betting a good portion of these eventually got the sniffles, diarrhea, earaches, or some kind of illness again.
- He raised Lazarus from the dead. Poor Lazarus. He gets sick, suffers, dies, likely goes to heaven and hangs out with God the Father, hears Jesus calling his spirit back into his stinky, rotting mortal flesh, undoubtedly looks at God with a “What the…?” glance, is suddenly alive again, then somewhere down the road….dies again. Thanks, Jesus. Funny joke, right?
Miracles are amazing and real. I’ve seen cancer leave individuals in unexplained ways. I’ve seen individuals recover from illnesses that were thought to be terminal. I’ve seen bumblebees fly even though they shouldn’t be capable, according to physics. I’ve watched as my daughters were born. I’ve witnessed some amazing things.
I can’t make these things the foundation of my faith, though. If I base my faith on what I can see, then I’ll stop believing every time I don’t hit the Powerball.
Jesus is encouraging us to focus on the Kingdom that’s coming. Yes, there’s the hope of heaven, but we often forget that’s there’s something even greater beyond that: Jesus is coming back. Our King will return, and make all things new, and He’s going to make it stay that way, for all time. Our job is to prepare this world for our coming King. That’s the greater work that Jesus is talking about…Getting ready for eternity, and getting others ready, as well.
Of the 70 or so that were sent forth by Jesus in Luke 10, most dedicated their lives to just that purpose. They anticipated that Jesus could return at any moment. We would do well to follow their examples, doing good, doing no harm, loving others, and loving God. Only one, a man named Nicolas, is none to have turned away from the faith. They are significant figures, people worth remembering.
Bishop Dorotheus of Tyre (in modern day Lebanon) was the spiritual mentor of Eusebius, who recorded much of early Christian history. He lived from 255 – 362 BC, was exiled at one point to a city I love, Varna, Bulgaria. He was eventually martyred for his faith at age 107. He recorded the names and deeds of the 70, and his feast day is June 5.
Now, some will argue that all of what he passed down is legend, with no basis in fact, because of the length of time that had passed between his life and the time of the 70. It’s funny to me that he recorded what he knew just a couple of hundred years after Christ’s death, and many Evangelical theologians would claim there’s no way he could have this knowledge; yet we have no problem with saying we know exactly who was at the First Continental Congress, with the same time frame between us and those founding fathers. We are interesting, us humans…
The good people at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Anna on the Gold Coast of Australia have been gracious enough to put St. Dorotheus’ list of the 70 online here. They also have a really nice introduction to basic church history on their website here. Also, you can read Eusebius’ “Church History” online for free here. Take some time to check out these resources!
I’ve borrowed liberally from the information on the 70 that St. Anna’s provides, so thanks and credit to them. There are thought to be a few discrepancies in the list, with Rodion, or Herodion, Apollos, Tychicus, Aristarchus being listed twice, and Timothy, Titus, Epaphras, Archippus, Aquila, Olympas being left out (check here for more info on this, and for a list of the feast days for the 70 Disciples).
All that being said, here’s our list:
JACOB, brother of the Lord, first bishop of Jerusalem, who was ordained by the Lord Himself, whose head was crushed by a whiffletree and he died.
CLEOPAS was the second bishop of Jerusalem like Simeon, brother of the Lord; he saw the Lord after the resurrection, and died crucified by Emperor Dometian.
THADDEUS who carried the letter to Abgar in Edessa: he cured the latter of his illness. History tells us that King Abgar had an incurable illness, heard about the miracles of Jesus, and wrote to him, asking for help. Jesus sent a dictated letter back to him, telling Abgar he could not come, but after he ascended into heaven, he would send a disciple to aid him. That disciple was Thaddeus, sent by the Apostle Thomas somewhere around 34 AD.
ANANIAS, who baptized the holy Apostle Paul, was bishop of Damascus.
STEPHEN, the first martyr, died after being stoned by the Jews.
PHILIP, one of the seven [deacons], who baptized Simon the sorcerer and Canalace’s eunuch, was bishop of Asian Tralia. ( more info on the seven deacons to come in a later post!)
PROCHORUS, also one of the seven, was bishop of Bithynian Nicomedia.
NICANOR, one of the seven, died on the same day as Saint
Stephen , together with two thousand believers in Christ.
TIMON, one of the seven, was bishop of the island of Arabia, and died after being burned by the Hellenes.
PARMENAS, also one of the seven, died in front of the apostles’ eyes while he was serving.
NICOLAS, also one of the seven, was bishop of Samaria; but he deviated from the true faith together with Simon.
BARNABAS, who served the Word together with Paul, and preached Christ in peace, was bishop of Milan.
MARK the Evangelist was ordained bishop of Alexandria by the Apostle Peter.
SILAS who preached the Gospel together with Paul, was bishop of Corinth.
LUKE, who preached the Gospel all over the world together with Paul, was bishop of Salonika. Luke the Evangelist came from Syrian Antioch, and went to Macedonian Thebes as a doctor during the reign of Emperor Trajan. He first wrote the holy Gospel to a certain ruler Theophilus, who believed in Christ. Then, many years after the passion of our Lord, and the holy Apostle Peter having commanded him to narrate the acts of the holy apostles, Saint Luke narrated the acts of the holy apostles to the same TheophiIus, And having done this, he gave up his soul to God in peace; and thus he died in Thebes. His holy relics were translated from Thebes to the church of the Holy Apostles, and were layed under the altar table.
SILVANUS, who preached the Gospel together with bishop of Salonika.
CRISPUS, whom the apostle (Paul) mentions in his epistle to Timothy, was bishop of Galilean Chalcedon.
EPENETUS, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle Romans, was bishop of Carthage.
ANDRONICUS, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Pannonia.
URBAN, whom the apostle mentions in the epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Macedonia.
STACHYS, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans; when Andrew the apostle, traversing the sea of Hellespont, reached Agricopolis, he ordained Stachys as bishop of Byzantium.
APELLES, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Heraklion.
PHYGELLUS was bishop of Ephesus; later he converted to Simon’s teaching.
HERMOGENES was bishop of Thracian Megara.
DEMAS, whom the apostle mentions in his second epistle to Timothy, opposed the teaching of God just as Phygellus and Hermogenes did; Demas loved this present world and in Salonika was a priest of the idols; he was one of whom the apostle John writes: they came from us, but were not one of us. APOLLOS, whom the apostle mentions, was bishop of Smyrna before Saint Polycarpus.
ARISTOBULUS, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Britannia.
NARCISSUS, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Athens.
HERODION, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Patfas.
AGABUS, who is mentioned in the acts of the apostles, who received the gift of prophecy.
RUFUS, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Thebes.
ASYNCRITUS, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Hyrcania.
PHLEGON, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Colossians, was bishop of Marathon.
HERMAS, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Dalmatia.
PATROBAS, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Pottole.
HERMES, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Philipopolis.
LINUS, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Rome after the holy apostle Peter.
GAIUS, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Ephesus after the apostle Timotheus.
PHILOGOGUS, whom the apostle [Paul] mentions, was ordained bishop of Sinope by Andrew the apostle.
RODION, whom the apostle mentions, was beheaded by Nero in Rome, together with the holy apostle Peter.
LUCIUS, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Syrian Laodicea.
JASON, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Tarsis.
SOSIPATER, whom the apostle mentions in his epistle to the Romans, was bishop of Iconium.
TERTIUS, who wrote the epistle to the Romans, was the second bishop of Iconium.
ERASTUS, whom the apostle mentions, was chamberlain of the church in Jerusalem; later he was bishop of Paneas.
APOLLOS, whom the apostle mentions to the Corinthians, was bishop of Caesarea.
CEPHAS was bishop of Iconium.
SOSTHENES, whom the apostle mentions, was bishop of Colophon.
TYCHICUS, whom the apostle mentions, was also bishop of Colophon.
EPAPHRAS, whom the apostle mentions, was bishop of Andriaca.
CAESAR, whom the apostle mentions, was bishop in Dyrrhachium.
MARK, the nephew of Barnabas, whom the apostle mentions, was bishop of Apollonias.
JESUS, called Justus, whom the apostle mentions in the Acts, was bishop of Eleutheropolis.
ARTEMUS, whom the apostle mentions, was bishop of Lystra.
CLEMENT, whom the apostle mentions, saying: “and with Clement, and with my other fellowworkers,” was bishop of Sardice.
ONESIPHORUS, whom the apostle mentions, was bishop of Cyrene.
TYCHICUS, whom the apostle mentions, was the first bishop of Bithynian Chalcedon.
QUARTUS, whom the apostle mentions, was bishop of Berytus.
CARPUS, whom the apostle mentions, was bishop of Thracian Berrhoe.
EUODIUS was bishop of Antioch after Saint Peter.
ARISTARCHUS, whom the apostle mentions, was bishop of Syrian Apamea.
MARK, called John, who is mentioned by Luke in the Acts, was bishop of Byblos.
ZENAS the lawyer, whom the apostle mentions, was bishop of Giospolis.
PHILEMON, to whom the apostle Paul wrote an epistle, was bishop of Gaza.
TROPHIMUS: these three suffered together with the apostle Paul through all his persecutions; in the end they were beheaded in Rome by Emperor Nero.
ONESIMUS died in Potiole at the hands of the Roman ruler Tertillus.