Often we think that Jesus worked only through the twelve disciples, but here we see that he sent out seventy of his followers to do ministry in and about the region. He gave all of them the authority to heal the sick as he charged them to preach the gospel of the kingdom.
Testing their Faith
Amongst other things this was a test of the faith of the disciples and the provision of God. All of these people he sent out were instructed to take nothing with them; no extra clothes, money, food, provisions or anything else for “the labourer deserves his wages.” (Verse 7)
As ministers of the Lord and doing the work of ministry they were entitled to be provided for. They were entitled to receive food and drink and the necessities of life that would sustain them in their mission.
The Lord was testing their faith by showing them that God would provide. They would not go without but he would ensure they had provisions for their journey and their stay.
However they were also instructed to stay in the one house when they went to these towns and not to go from place to place. There may have been a number of reasons for this, but the main one that comes to mind is practicality.
From a practical perspective it made it easier for the people to find the disciples. If the townsfolk knew where to find the disciples they could come and receive teaching and healing. But if the disciples were constantly moving they could miss out.
Second, they were to be provided for by that house. They would not get rich and that was not the intention, but they would receive what was necessary. But also that house received a blessing for the provision they gave. I am sure that the Lord would have blessed that house with more than sufficient provisions to provide the disciples needs, just as he blessed the widow who Elijah stayed with during the great drought.
Testifying to the work
He ensured that the work was witnessed for the truth stands by the evidence of two or more witnesses. As such the disciples were sent out in pairs to prepare the way for the Lord as he was to come into all these towns shortly.
We see also that the process of spreading the gospel the Lord provided was the same as he practiced himself. The disciples were to go into the towns and villages to heal the sick and to preach the gospel. It was the healing process that they carried out which testified to the truth of the gospel for God bore witness to the message by the signs, wonders and healings that the disciples were permitted to carry out.
This is according to the scripture for he said, “And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.” (Mark 16:20)
Finally we see that if a town accepted the disciples the town was blessed and the peace of the Lord came upon it. But if the town rejected the disciples they were to even shake the dust off their feet as a sign that their rejection was noted and they would suffer rejection by God.
In either case they were instructed to tell the townspeople that the Kingdom of God had come near them. Their acceptance or rejection was their own decision and they had the choice. Hopefully those who rejected at that time turned and repented at a later time, but we do not know the outcome of whether this occurred or not.