By Brooke Holt
“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.” Luke 10:1
It is important to remember there were no chapter breaks in the original manuscripts of the Bible. When you see the words “after this,” it is important to go back and read the previous sentences before this new chapter. Jesus had just been telling his disciples about the cost of following him. This conversation developed as people claimed they would follow Jesus anywhere. Jesus’ responses to these well-meaning people revealed that following him is easier said than done.
Jesus told one eager follower that he didn’t know where they would sleep that night and another that he was to leave his father and mother despite their advanced age. Jesus was conveying there is sacrifice and much uncertainty in following him. Despite the challenge and uncertainty, there were seventy-two people ready to go and build God’s kingdom. Jesus did not hesitate to send these disciples out, but he sent them with backup. Why would he send them two by two?
Even the most zealous follower of Jesus will have challenging days. These are days when it is hard to persevere. Jesus sent people out two by two because the other could be strong when one was weak. When one doubted the mission, the other could remind him of the words of Jesus and what they had seen him do. Jesus was and is the only person who lived a perfect life. Everyone else will stumble and fall. King Solomon writes, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
The Lord designed humankind to be interdependent. We need each other, and that is good! Husbands need wives, and wives need husbands. Children need parents, and friends are to love and support one another. Beyond these relationships, there is the body of Christ to build up one another up in love and unity. There was not a disciple who could walk it alone. Even Jesus surrounded himself with the company of twelve and then the three in his inner circle.
Do you recognize your need for support in your Christian life? Do you rely on the people God has put into your life for that support? The Lord provided these people and will continue to provide people to help you along the way, support you, and lift your hands of faith when you tire (Exodus 17:11-13).
Are you living in this interdependence of God’s people, or are you trying to do the Christian life on your own? How can you better engage in the Christian community to receive and give support? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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