The Seventy Disciples

The Seventy disciples that Jesus sent out, though it is not talked of, a Christian community must already be forming. Those who followed Him and came to believe in Him would naturally be drawn together. The greatest experience they ever had would be a bond. They would talk of what they had seen and heard and would share the latest news of him. Some fell away after his talk of giving his flesh to eat and his blood to drink. But some remained and others joined.

Besides the Great Sanhedrin of Jerusalem, there existed minor sanhedrins in the different communities in Palestine and abroad. Every well-organized Jewish community must have had one. Its members were the most prominent Jews of the locality and its president, the ruler of the synagogue.

The seventy were messengers of Jesus sent out two by two into every city and place where Jesus would come. Two by two so as to help and to watch each other and in their journeyings. Jesus said to them the same things that will inspire the last days army of the Lord when the wedding feast is ready and we will be out into the streets: "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few, pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth laborers into His harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves." We are not to worry about money, or what to wear. We are to bring peace to those who have the Son of peace and if not, the peace will return to us. Bless the people, heal the sick and bring them the gospel of the kingdom. Bless them not if we are not received. "He that hears you hears me, and he that despises you despises Me and he that despises me despises Him that sent Me." And the demons will be subject to us through the name of Jesus. How many of you know that this is the way that the last day ministry concerning us will be conducted?

Joseph, commonly called Barsabus, and Ananias, bishop of Damascus; each of the 70, martyred under Nero. Archippus (master of the horse), tradition states that he was one of Jesus' seventy disciples, and suffered martyrdom at Chonae, near Laodicea. John Mark is surmised to be of the seventy. Agabus was a prophet of the early church and said to be of the seventy. Stephen was of the seventy disciples that Jesus sent out.

Eusebius of Caesarea mnetions in his book of church history: "But there exists no catalogue of the seventy disciples. Barnabas, indeed, is said to have been one of them, of whom the Acts of the apostles makes mention in various places, and especially Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians. They say that Sosthenes also, who wrote to the Corinthians with Paul, was one of them. This is the account of Clement in the fifth book of his Hypotyposes, in which he also says that Cephas (Peter) was one of the seventy disciples, a man who bore the same name as the apostle Peter, and the one concerning whom Paul says, "When Cephas came to Antioch I withstood him to his face." Matthias, also, who was numbered with the apostles in the place of Judas, and the one who was honored by being made a candidate with him, are like-wise said to have been deemed worthy of the same calling with the seventy. They say that Thaddeus also was one of them.
[318, 324, 18, 380]

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