My first reaction to this text is surprise that someone thinks we need to nanny our congregations by editing out harsh words Jesus spoke. Yes, I believe he did speak them. Just as I reckon LK likely gives us a more honest reporting of the 'Beatitudes' when he reports them, also, ending with 'woes', curses (LK 6: 24-26). To close our eyes to this, or at least that possibility, is to continue the emasculation of Jesus into the 'Pale Galilean'. Pale & colourless. Washed out. Not truly incarnate. We can do better than that! As Jesus can. As Jesus is!
Jesus, following in Moses footsteps once more, appoints 70 to share the load with him. He doesn't call for volunteers; he appoints them. Volunteers may be the best hearted of people, but that's not the way God works. God calls. God appoints. God anoints for the call & the appointment.
The strictures Jesus imposes on the 70 wouldn't work in most contemporary settings & cultures. We're not all Francises of Assisi or Mother Teresas of Calcutta. Yet rather than dismiss the principle on which Jesus is insisting, could we, under God's guidance, come up with a contemporary equivalent discipl(e)ine to make us more effective in our own society? Unless, of course, we don't see ourselves among those called, appointed, anointed, sent as one of today's innumerable company of Friends of Jesus. If so, do we have a good excuse? Will it stand up at some 'Last Day'? Will we?
With regard to the aforementioned 'woes', I simply ask whether we haven't become too soft, too undemanding of those who want to claim something from Jesus without contributing what true discipleship calls them to do. (Bonhoeffer's 'cheap grace') Has the pendulum swung too far towards the 'it's nice to be nice' variety of 'Christianity' end of the scale? Why should Satan (however we understand 'him') fall from anywhere if there's no real incentive to do so?
In a day when education is rightly important & valued, how can we respect, appreciate, & use the ministry gifts of the 'infants' among our ranks. 'Tis a gift to be simple...' is still valid Gospel, but without much acceptance in the ranks, highest down.
What are we seeing? Not much? How blessed do we feel because of what
we see? Not much? If we're to see the things of God, we must look through
God's eyes, & to do that we must become, by the Spirit, little Christs.
Then we're blessed indeed.
And know it.