Earlier Jesus had sent twelve apostles into the northern areas because the work was more than he could do by himself in the short time available. Now, for a similar reason, he sent a much larger number into the southern regions through which he was travelling (Luke 10:1-2). The instructions Jesus gave to the seventy were similar to those he had given to the twelve (Luke 10:3-12; see also notes on Matt 10:5- 42). Being reminded of the earlier mission in the north, Luke records Jesus’ announcement of judgment on certain northern citizens who would not believe (Luke 10:13-16; see notes on Matt 11:20-24).
Luke goes on immediately to record the success of the seventy, though many months probably passed before they returned. Jesus saw this success as a triumph over Satan and a guarantee of his ultimate destruction. But the servants of God should always remember that their greatest cause for praise is not what they have done for God, but what God has done for them (Luke 10:17-20).
Because Jesus is the Son of God, his power in the lives of his humblest disciples gives them a knowledge of things of which the wise in this world know nothing. Through Jesus, believers have a knowledge of God the Father (Luke 10:21-22). Godly people of former ages wanted to know things that have now been revealed to Jesus’ disciples, but they were unable to, because in those days the Messiah had not yet come (Luke 10:23-24).