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Sent With the Seventy
July 3, 2022, 12:00 AM

July 3, 2022 - 4th Sunday after Pentecost

Close your eyes and picture Jesus and his followers together. Most likely people either picture Jesus sitting around with the twelve disciples or standing in the midst of thousands preaching and teaching. Yet in today’s gospel Jesus has seventy followers close enough that he trusts them to be sent out in pairs to heal the sick and announce that God has come near. Seventy trusted preachers. Thirty-five pairs of preachers telling the good news of God. So telling the story is clearly not to be limited to the twelve disciples. The good news is meant to be shared far and wide by those who trust Jesus and follow him.

This is a reminder to all of the followers of Jesus of every time and place. Sharing the good news is not just the responsibility of “professionals” like clergy. Sharing the good news is the calling of everyone who follows Jesus.

Consider the assignment Jesus gives to the ones he sends. First, they are sent to cure the sick. Second, they proclaim that “the kingdom of God has come near.” It has been said that “you don’t throw a drowning person a sandwich.” Jesus sends the seventy out with not only words of comfort but with acts of grace as well.

God’s people are sent out into the world to serve in the name of Jesus each time they gather for worship. In this gospel text we are again reminded that the gospel message is to be shared in more than just words. We share the message by welcoming others, sharing bread with the hungry, and offering compassion to the afflicted. Yet our baptism also reminds us that God has first come near to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ—a relationship that is like a mother comforting a child. The promise that God is near in Christ compels us to live faithfully and compassionately, wherever our journeys take us.