The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’” (Luke 10:1-9)

Pastors deserve to get paid. Jesus sent seventy-two of his followers into the cities that Jesus was about to visit himself. Their message was the same as his, both in word and deed. Why seventy-two? Perhaps to match the number of elders on whom the Spirit descended in the wilderness to help Moses govern (see Numbers 11:25-26). The mission of the seventy-two was short and temporary, in contrast to the mission of the twelve apostles Jesus sent out at another time, that was worldwide and permanent. After a single missionary tour, these seventy two were never mentioned again in the New Testament.

What did Jesus mean about peace resting on a man of peace? The standard greeting in Israel, as throughout the Middle East, was shalom elekem–“peace to you” Jesus merely told them that if their greeting was accepted, they should accept that home’s hospitality. If their greeting was not accepted, then they should move on to someone else. Jesus was giving them instructions about how they would know where they could stay while they worked.

Jesus was proposing something new for those who worked full time for him. Before Jesus, the rabbis in charge of the synagogues received no payment from the synagogue. They had to have a trade in order to make a living. Jesus argued that those who worked for the kingdom of God deserved to be supported by those they ministered to. That’s why, in most churches today, our pastors are paid a salary by the congregation they serve.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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