1After this, the Lord Jesus formed thirty-five teams among the other disciples. Each team was two disciples, seventy in all, and he commissioned them to go ahead of him into every town he was about to visit. 2He released them with these instructions:
“The harvest is huge and ripe. But there are not enough harvesters to bring it all in. As you go, plead with the Owner of the Harvest to drive out into his harvest fields many more workers. 3Now, off you go! I am sending you out even though you feel as vulnerable as lambs going into a pack of wolves. 4You won’t need to take anything with you—trust in God alone. And don’t get distracted from my purpose by anyone you might meet along the way.
5“Once you enter a house, speak to the people there and say, ‘God’s blessing of peace be upon this house!’ 6If a lover of peace resides there, your peace will rest upon that household. But if you are rejected, your blessing of peace will come back upon you. 7Don’t feel the need to shift from one house to another, but stay put in one home during your time in that city. Eat and drink whatever they serve you. Receive their hospitality, for you are my harvester, and you deserve to be cared for.
8“When you enter into a new town, and you have been welcomed by its people, follow these rules: Eat what is served you. 9Then heal the sick, and tell them all, ‘God’s kingdom realm has arrived and is now within your reach!’ 10But when you enter a city and they do not receive you, say to them publicly, 11‘We wipe from our feet the very dust of your streets as a testimony before you! Understand this: God’s kingdom realm came within your reach and yet you have rejected God’s invitation!’ ”
12Jesus continued, “Let me say it clearly: on the day of judgment the wicked people of Sodom will have a lesser degree of judgment than the city that rejects you, for Sodom did not have the opportunity that was given to them.”
Jesus Condemns the Unrepentant Cities
13“How disastrous it will be for the city of Korazin! How horrible for the city of Bethsaida! For if the powerful miracles that I performed in Korazin and Bethsaida had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have humbled themselves and repented, and turned from their sins. 14Tyre and Sidon will face a lesser degree of judgment than you will on the day of judgment. 15And Capernaum! Do you really think you’ll be highly exalted because of the great things I have done there? No! You’ll be brought down to the depths of hell because of your rejection of me!”
16Jesus concluded his instructions to the seventy with these words: “Remember this: Whoever listens to your message is actually listening to me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me, and not only me but the one who sent me.”
The Seventy Return
17When the seventy missionaries returned to Jesus, they were ecstatic with joy, telling him, “Lord, even the demons obeyed us when we commanded them in your name!”
18Jesus replied, “While you were ministering, I watched Satan topple until he fell suddenly from heaven like lightning to the ground. 19Now you understand that I have imparted to you all my authority to trample over his kingdom. You will trample upon every demon before you and overcome every power Satan possesses. Absolutely nothing will be able to harm you as you walk in this authority. 20However, your real source of joy isn’t merely that these spirits submit to your authority, but that your names are written in the journals of heaven and that you belong to God’s kingdom. This is the true source of your authority.”
21Then Jesus, overflowing with the Holy Spirit’s anointing of joy, exclaimed, “Father, thank you, for you are Lord Supreme over heaven and earth! You have hidden the great revelation of this authority from those who are proud, those wise in their own eyes, and you have shared it with these who humbled themselves. Yes, Father. This is what pleases your heart and the very way you’ve chosen to extend your kingdom: to give to those who become like trusting children.
22“Father, you have entrusted me with all that you are and all that you have. No one fully knows the Son except the Father. And no one fully knows the Father except the Son. But the Son is able to introduce and reveal the Father to anyone he chooses.”
23When Jesus was alone with the Twelve, he said to them, “You are very privileged to see and hear all these things. 24Many kings and prophets of old longed to see these days of miracles that you’ve been favored to see. They would have given everything to hear the revelation you’ve been favored to hear. Yet they didn’t get to see as much as a glimpse or hear even a whisper.”
Loving God, Loving Others
25Just then a religious scholar stood before Jesus in order to test his doctrines. He posed this question: “Teacher, what requirement must I fulfill if I want to live forever in heaven?”
26Jesus replied, “What does Moses teach us? What do you read in the Law?”
27The religious scholar answered, “It states, ‘You must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your passion, all your energy, and your every thought. And you must love your neighbor as well as you love yourself.’ ”
28Jesus said, “That is correct. Now go and do exactly that and you will live.”
29Wanting to justify himself, he questioned Jesus further, saying, “What do you mean by ‘my neighbor’?”
30Jesus replied, “Listen and I will tell you. There was once a Jewish man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho when bandits robbed him along the way. They beat him severely, stripped him naked, and left him half dead.
31“Soon, a Jewish priest walking down the same road came upon the wounded man. Seeing him from a distance, the priest crossed to the other side of the road and walked right past him, not turning to help him one bit.
32“Later, a religious man, a Levite, came walking down the same road and likewise crossed to the other side to pass by the wounded man without stopping to help him.
33“Finally, another man, a Samaritan, came upon the bleeding man and was moved with tender compassion for him. 34He stooped down and gave him first aid, pouring olive oil on his wounds, disinfecting them with wine, and bandaging them to stop the bleeding. Lifting him up, he placed him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn. Then he took him from his donkey and carried him to a room for the night. 35The next morning he took his own money from his wallet and gave it to the innkeeper with these words: ‘Take care of him until I come back from my journey. If it costs more than this, I will repay you when I return.’ 36So, now, tell me, which one of the three men who saw the wounded man proved to be the true neighbor?”
37The religious scholar responded, “The one who demonstrated kindness and mercy.”
Jesus said, “You must go and do the same as he.”
Jesus Visits Martha and Mary
38-39As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. 40But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.”
41The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? 42Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.”