After the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus spent the next few weeks before the Feast of Dedication teaching in the area of Judea. He sent an advance party of seventy disciples to prepare the way.
Their mission was similar to that of the twelve, who had gone on the limited commission about six months earlier. They were to go in pairs to heal the sick and preach the message, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”
Since these disciples would be staying in private homes in the cities, they were to travel lightly, taking neither money nor provisions. They were to eat and drink whatever was set before them and to lodge in the same house as long as they were in that city.
If the people of a city refused to accept the disciples, they were to shake the dust off themselves as a symbol of God’s rejection of that city in the final judgment.
As Jesus instructed the disciples, He expressed the unity between God and His believers. “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
When the disciples returned from their mission, they were very joyful. They reported that even the demons were subject to them in the name of Jesus.
The disciples had seen and heard things to which prophets and kings had looked forward and had not seen and heard. Jesus pointed out that they should rejoice instead, that their names were written in heaven.