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Jesus hires seventy helpers and sends them forth in pairs to each of the towns he plans to visit during his journey to Jerusalem.
Jesus isn't shy about the immense work that's waiting for them. After all, "the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few" (10:2). Thanks, metaphor.
To drive the point home, he says, "See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves" (10:3). That can't be good.
Here are some rules for them to follow. They aren't supposed to take along a wallet, bag, or shoes, and they can't greet anyone while on the road. These sound awfully familiar (rewind to 9:3).
What should they do? Enter a home, and utter the word "peace" (10:5), which sends vibes throughout the house. Fancy.
Peace is like a magnet that sticks to iron but not to brass—peace sticks only to a person inclined toward peace. Otherwise, the peace-vibes will return to the disciple.
Then they are supposed to stay, eat, and drink in the same house.
A worker deserves to be paid, but they shouldn't go from house to house seeking more pay than they deserve.
In any city that is welcoming to the disciples, they should consume whatever food they are served. Translation: they don't have to be overly strict with Jewish dietary laws.
While they're at it, they should cure the sick and proclaim the nearness of God's kingdom.
In any city that is not welcoming to the disciples, they should enter its square, announce that they're shaking its dust from their feet, and warn them of God's nearing kingdom.
Let's just say that city will not be very happy on the day when Jesus returns (recall 9:26).
In fact, Sodom had it easier. That's a real big threat. It's like saying Hiroshima and Nagasaki had it easier. Check out Genesis 18:16-19:29 for the whole Sodom story.
Jesus says boo to Chorazin and boo to Bethsaida. Even the non-Jewish cities of Tyre and Sidon would have repented if the same miracles were performed there.
Tyre and Sidon will have an easier time on the day of judgment than Chorazin and Bethsaida.
Not even Capernaum will do so well in spite of what Jesus has done there (rewind to 4:31-44). They're destined not for heaven, but for "Hades" (10:15).
The "seventy" are surrogates for Jesus. Listening to them is listening to him, while rejecting them is rejecting him—ditto for God, who sent Jesus.
The gang returns with joy. After all, they've been bossing around demons, who have supernatural clout.
Jesus affirms that he, too, was watching none other than Satan fall from heaven like a bolt of lightning.
Plus, exorcism isn't their only special power. They're also able to walk right on top of snakes and scorpions, not to mention every other enemy's power. They're practically invincible against such things.
Check this out: some followers still take this to heart and handle poisonous serpents, but they're not always as invincible as followers were a couple millennia ago.
Jesus adds that their new-found authority to boss demons around should be a source of joy for what this implies, that their "names are written in heaven" (10:20).
This causes Jesus to rejoice, too, and he praises God, who is called "Father" and "Lord of heaven and earth" (10:21).
God gets props for hiding "these things" (what things?) from highbrow professors and revealing them to kindergartners (remember it's the highbrows who aren't getting it; rewind to 5:17-6:11 and 7:36-50).
Everything's placed under Jesus's charge, and he says to his disciples, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!" (10:23).
Just think of all of the prophets and bigwig rulers who have wanted to lay their eyes and ears upon stuff like this.