It was a stirring time about the Magadan Camp the day the seventy went forth on their first mission. Early that morning, in his last talk with the seventy, Jesus placed emphasis on the following:
1. The gospel of the kingdom must be proclaimed to all the world, to gentile as well as to Jew.
2. While ministering to the sick, refrain from teaching the expectation of miracles.
3. Proclaim a spiritual brotherhood of the sons of God, not an outward kingdom of worldly power and material glory.
4. Avoid loss of time through overmuch social visiting and other trivialities which might detract from wholehearted devotion to preaching the gospel.
5. If the first house to be selected for a headquarters proves to be a worthy home, abide there throughout the sojourn in that city.
6. Make clear to all faithful believers that the time for an open break with the religious leaders of the Jews at Jerusalem has now come.
7. Teach that man’s whole duty is summed up in this one commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself. (This they were to teach as man’s whole duty in place of the 613 rules of living expounded by the Pharisees.)
When Jesus had talked thus to the seventy in the presence of all the apostles and disciples, Simon Peter took them off by themselves and preached to them their ordination sermon, which was an elaboration of the Master’s charge given at the time he laid his hands upon them and set them apart as messengers of the kingdom. Peter exhorted the seventy to cherish in their experience the following virtues:
1. Consecrated devotion. To pray always for more laborers to be sent forth into the gospel harvest. He explained that, when one so prays, he will the more likely say, “Here am I; send me.” He admonished them to neglect not their daily worship.
2. True courage. He warned them that they would encounter hostility and be certain to meet with persecution. Peter told them their mission was no undertaking for cowards and advised those who were afraid to step out before they started. But none withdrew.
3. Faith and trust. They must go forth on this short mission wholly unprovided for; they must trust the Father for food and shelter and all other things needful.
4. Zeal and initiative. They must be possessed with zeal and intelligent enthusiasm; they must attend strictly to their Master’s business. Oriental salutation was a lengthy and elaborate ceremony; therefore had they been instructed to “salute no man by the way,” which was a common method of exhorting one to go about his business without the waste of time. It had nothing to do with the matter of friendly greeting.
5. Kindness and courtesy. The Master had instructed them to avoid unnecessary waste of time in social ceremonies, but he enjoined courtesy toward all with whom they should come in contact. They were to show every kindness to those who might entertain them in their homes. They were strictly warned against leaving a modest home to be entertained in a more comfortable or influential one.
6. Ministry to the sick. The seventy were charged by Peter to search out the sick in mind and body and to do everything in their power to bring about the alleviation or cure of their maladies.
And when they had been thus charged and instructed, they started out, two and two, on their mission in Galilee, Samaria, and Judea.
Although the Jews had a peculiar regard for the number seventy, sometimes considering the nations of heathendom as being seventy in number, and although these seventy messengers were to go with the gospel to all peoples, still as far as we can discern, it was only coincidental that this group happened to number just seventy. Certain it was that Jesus would have accepted no less than half a dozen others, but they were unwilling to pay the price of forsaking wealth and families.