Jesus has turned his face to Jerusalem and is purposefully heading to that city. He sends seventy "others" to go ahead of him to every town and village he plans on passing through and visiting. This is pretty wise based on his impatience to get to Jerusalem: why waste time in places where he will not be welcome? And he sends these seventy out in twos, without food, or extra clothing.
I wonder how these relationships worked out. Did they become fast friends? Did they get on each other's nerves? Were they able to protect each other from and support each other in those times of doubts and wondering? I'm sure as in all of life, there were pairings that worked well together and others that were catastrophic. The wisdom writer in Ecclesiasticus reminds us of how careful we must be in choosing friends, in trusting people. I wonder if Jesus had these verses in mind when he sent these seventy out two by two. Whether the relationships worked out or not is not really the point though: they were sent ahead, I believe, to let Jesus know where he should spend his limited time and where he shouldn't as he marched himself to his fate in Jerusalem.
We don't have that option in life usually: sending people ahead of us to permit an effective usage of our limited time here. We have to try to reach every person, touch every heart, love each individual we come across. This is achievable only by God's grace. We will on occasion actually reach this goal. Usually we will have to pick ourselves up and try again. Hopefully there will be some trusted person, a true friend, a true companion who can help us get back up and keep trying. If that person is not in our lives just yet, we know in our heart of hearts, that God is with us as we make these efforts to bring the kingdom's greatness to the world around us. That can be enough.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.