“The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs” (Luke 10)
God loves pairs.
God chose Abel over Cain and Jacob over Esau to contrast the ways of God and the way of the flesh. God’s goal is to pair two like-minded souls together (e.g. David and Jonathan; Mary and Martha; James and John; and Joseph and Mary).
The Apostle Paul and his silent partner, Dr. Luke. Paul refers to Luke as a co-laborer (cf. Philemon 24; Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:11). Luke also sees himself as Paul’s silent partner. Luke writes the sequel to the Gospels. As the first Church historian, notice the number of times Luke includes himself as an equal member of the discipleship team (cf. Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1-37; 28:1-16):
- We got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. From Troas,
- We put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day
- We went on to Neapolis. From there
- We traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And
- We stayed there for several days. On the Sabbath,
- We went outside the city gate to the river, where
- We expected to find a place of prayer.
- We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.
- We were going to the place of prayer,
- We were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future.
The Apostle Paul and Luke followed Jesus’ directions.
Even though Paul and Luke were not among the first disciples, I can imagine the duo following Jesus’ original instructions (cf. “Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ (Luke 10:1-9)).
When Jesus promised, “Again, truly I tell you that if “two of you” on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven,” He had in mind Paul and Luke. And Us.
God loves pairs for four reasons.
- God’s eternal choice includes your discipleship partner. In the kingdom of God, there are no guarantees, Jesus experienced the betrayal of Judas (cf. John 6:64, “For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him”). Paul experienced the loss of Demas (“Demas, enamored of the present world, deserted me and went to Thessalonica”). Even in their darkest days, “God stood with them.”
- The rate of success increases. Luke records Jesus’ words (11:2), “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.” Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for the labor.”
- The world includes wolves. In his journeys with Paul, Dr. Luke probably recalled Jesus’ words, “I am sending you like lambs among wolves” (cf. “Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm” (2 Timothy 4)).
- All you need is two. God began His kingdom project with one pair, Adam and Eve and continues it today with us.
There is no shame in being a silent partner.
Deborah’s leadership role as judge of Israel dwarfed her husband Lapidoth (Judges 4). The most famous silent partner in Scripture is Joseph. While Mary is the Theotokos, Joseph stays in the background. The Apostle Paul starred while St. Luke assisted.
Are you a part of a discipleship pair? Being a silent partner is no reason to stay out of the kingdom.