Sign up for Meridian’s Free Newsletter, please CLICK HERE

I am not certain of Luke’s purpose in organizing his tenth chapter as he did.  The events don’t seem to be completely chronological.  Luke[1] was a gentile physician who wrote some years after the resurrection and only after gaining a “perfect knowledge” of the events of the life of Christ from eyewitnesses.  His Luke 10 is the only mention of the calling of the 70 in the New Testament.  Could He, as a gentile, see this organizational detail as essential to the greater gathering that would drive the restoration in the latter days?

Luke 10 begins with the Savior calling the 70 and sending them to the harvest.  It is no coincidence, in the choices of the master teacher, that this all takes place during the fall harvest season.  This is also the time of the feast of the tabernacles otherwise known as the feast of the harvest. The genius in not only correlating the details of His ministry with the context of those listening, but also preparing for generations by having them live the “festival cycle” that would serve as Jehovah’s agenda for mortal earth, is revelatory. ]This calling of the 70, to aid in the harvest of souls during the meridian of time, is but the portent of the yet unfulfilled prophecies of the great harvest of souls in the end-times.

This feast time came at what the Hebrews called “the end” of the year.  It started with the equinox Feast of the trumpets, followed by the Day of Atonement, and then the Feast of Harvest/Tabernacles/Lights.  An excerpt from a previous article may help:

“Central to the Feast of the Tabernacles/Feast of lights/Feast of the harvest was the unique sacrificial process. The festival lasted seven days.  On the first day, thirteen bullocks were offered, the second day twelve were offered, etc. until on the last day, seven were offered. 13+12+11+10+9+8+7=70. There were other animals included as well but it is noteworthy that it was at this time of year that the Savior called “The 70” to go forth as under-shepherds, representing Him, to preach and administrate under the apostles.  It is also the number of nations listed after the flood[2]. So, this number portends a great preaching and gathering of all the nations of the world!” This gathering is then under the authority of Christ through His twelve apostles but administrated by the Seventy. (https://ldsmag.com/following-the-clues-to-determine-the-timing-of-christs-visit-to-the-nephites/)

Every major enterprise must include two essential skills: Leadership and management.  Leadership includes imparting vision, motivating followers by elucidating the big “WHY.”  Management includes “HOW” skills that organize followers and creates the organizational synergy necessary to bring the vision to fruition.  What Luke includes next in this chapter in the training of the Seventy is classic “Stephen Covey” delegation:

Begin with the end in mind: Impart Vision:

Therefore, said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. V2

List limitations:

Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. V3-4

List Resources and recommendations:

And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.
And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. v5-9

Include any warnings or possible difficulties:

But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city…shalt be thrust down to hell. V10-15

Define level of responsibility and decision-making authority:

He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. V16

Set a reporting time and frequency:

And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. v17

Give feedback and delineate reward (physical, psychological, privilege, power, etc.)

“And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven…. And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” V18-24

Were we to think that the harvest is only the privilege of those called, Luke sequences with two stories again proprietary to him.  First, he recounts an incident where a Jewish Lawyer asks how to gain eternal life?  Luke recounts how the Savior summarized the entire law and all Ten Commandments in two key phrases:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” V27

The next several verses then focus on that second principle of loving our neighbor as self, which He would later escalate to loving them as He loves.

“John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

So, after Luke recounts the context and then delineates principles of delegation beginning with a Vision of the Harvest, he then uses the incident to allow the voice of the Savior help us understand a vision of the method and then motivation of the harvesters; Christ-like love.  They don’t just represent Him, they become Him in their delegated service of instrumentally giving His grace, whereby they, in turn, are incremented from “grace to grace.” It is this divine grace flowing through them that allows Christ to perfect them.[3] Giving us the Samaritan parable, where Christ is a metaphorical “good Samaritan” with the conclusion of “Go and do likewise,” He provides us the “how,” in gaining eternal life.  The gathering then, is not exclusive nor optional to our being perfected.

Lest we become too focused on better organizing the gathering, becoming more efficient, He finishes the chapter with the exclusive “Mary, Martha story.”  The long awaited and beloved Messiah visits the home of two sisters, Mary and Martha.  Can you sense the stress felt as Martha works to have everything perfect for his visit and stay?  She was organizationally/EFFICIENCY focused.  Mary, on the other hand was focused on the person and teachings of the Messiah himself.  Today we know that with people, one cannot be efficient, one can only be EFFECTIVE. “Mary has chosen the good part.”  Why is this used to conclude this chapter?  Is Luke concluding this “gathering” seminar of leadership and management with an underlying and central focus that will help us remember that the process is as sacred as the product.  But, the gathering as an “end” purpose, the product of all our effort is no more important than the means, the process by which we finish the task.  Loving as He loved is “how” others will know we are His disciples. It is in the process that the organizational end becomes the personal result.  The yoke into which He invites us is indeed “chrestos[4] or about people. The gathering becomes His means of perfecting us individually because He can change us better by working through us than by working on us!


[1] New Testament Institute Manual, Though known as the “beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14) mentioned by Paul, Luke was foremost “a messenger of Jesus Christ” (Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 1:1 [in Luke 1:1, footnote a]). Luke was one of Paul’s “fellowlabourers” (Philemon 1:24) and Paul’s missionary companion (see 2 Timothy 4:11). Because Luke did not claim to have been an eyewitness of the Savior, but rather to have gained a perfect understanding from those who were “eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word” (Luke 1:2), it may be presumed that he was converted to Christianity at some point following the Savior’s Resurrection and Ascension….. scholars estimate it was composed between A.D. 60 and 85. Luke’s sources were those people who “from the beginning were eyewitnesses” (Luke 1:2) of the Savior’s mortal ministry and Resurrection.

[2] Genesis 10

[3] DC 93:12-13; Moroni 10:32-33

[4] “my yoke is easy” translated from the Greek “Chrestos” meaning the yoke is “pleasing,” and the yoke is” about people.”