In chapters 9 and 10, Luke records the limited commission of the Twelve and of the 72 others (besides the Twelve). It appears he makes symbolic use of the numbers. The Twelve represent the Jews. Twelve apostles, twelve tribes of Israel. The 72 represent the number of the nations of the world (see Gen 10; cf. NLT Study Bible).
Luke 10 appears near the beginning of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem (9.51-19.27), during which he has in view their mission of preaching after his death (W. Kummel, Introdução ao Novo Testamento). Various elements, though not all, seem to look toward fulfillment after the beginning of the church, such as their prayer for more laborers. Continue reading “Mission math: Twelve plus 72 equals great commission”