Luke 9:1-2 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
Here Jesus is definitely in charge of the itenerary. He is the Missionary Director, the overseer of the flock. He is dispatching the twelve to the twelve tribes of Israel around about Galilee in pairs...preaching teams.
Luke 10:1-3 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
Here He is at it again. he is setting up Missionary Teams, and issuing instructions for teams of evangelists to carry His message out.... to propigate His Gospel to the masses. But, this time He does not tell them they can't preach to the Gentiles, but He sends them to the seventy heathen nations, as the Jews reckoned them, when He commissioned seventy. And, Samaria is representative of the Gentile world. Jesus avoided Samaria during His ministry, passing through quickly, as if He knew He wouldn't get a chance to preach to the Jews, if He didn't take His message to them first. He knew perhaps that the Gentile nations would seize the Gospel like the family pet under the table waiting for a scrap of food from the Master's plate. (The same analogy was actually used once by Jesus.) You see, all it took was one thirsty Samaritian woman at the well to shout His message all over town. Just imagine what they would have done if they had gotten hold of the message sooner! Conjecture on my part here, I know, but think of the possibilities.
But, back to the actual Scriptures, now. I always think of Jesus teaching and healing. But, I usually imagine the disciples spread His Gospel, like an afterthought to a good idea. When, in reality, that was not only Jesus' plan from the get-go, but He set the ball rolling. He sent them out in pairs to carry his message around the middle east, with full intentions. You see, the next step in this plan was you and I...go therefore into all the world...the Great Commission. It didn't begin there, but with the 12, and then the 70.
The idea of ministry to the Gentiles was not original to Paul, or to Peter. No wonder you always see Jesus pictured with His arms outstretched. He called the twelve. He sent the twelve. He is calling us today. Jesus came to Earth with His arms wide open. He was reaching out to the world long before He spread His arms and died on the cross. All that is left for us to do is answer the call...the same call the twelve were given. It is so nice to be in the shelter of those outstretched arms!