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Mark 6:7-13 Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

Posted by adventbiblestudy on January 3, 2013


Mark 6:7-13 NLTse And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. (8) He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick–no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. (9) He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes. (10) “Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. (11) But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” (12) So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. (13) And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.

 

The reference to demons and evil spirits takes us all the way back to the beginning of Mark chapter 5 where Jesus cast a legion of demons out of a man who became one of the greatest evangelists in the Gospels. Which raises the question, did Jesus send His disciples out to cast out demons and heal, or to make evangelists? We see a hint when Jesus tells them part of the message is, “turn to God.”

 

Turning to God is a personal experience which grows like a tree, reaching out to others, like the parable of the mustard seed which Jesus taught just a few days before sending them out. Which brings us to the context of these texts. In previous verses and chapters we see Jesus teaching His disciples, preparing them for this moment, and their future. With little time to hone their skills related to understanding scripture, Jesus introduced another important lesson they needed to learn, how to help others. Jesus did not add any parables from the time He introduced concepts required to understand them before He sent them out. Jesus wanted His disciples to learn the concept of helping others so they could master concepts involving the personality of scripture. Jesus knew reading words and interpreting their meaning was not enough. Jesus knew scripture is a living gospel of action.

 

Another aspect Jesus was teaching could only be mastered after they learned to rely on others. This is why He sent them out with no money, food, or bag to carry other essentials. Jesus put the disciples in a position they had option but to depend on others. A lesson designed to teach them how to rely on the Holy Spirit when the time came for them to study scripture and minister to others. In the boat, the disciples had to rely on Jesus during the storm. When they got out of the boat, only Jesus could heal the demon possessed man. Jesus showed them relying on people is not always possible when He preached in His hometown. That is why Jesus gave them instructions to shake the dust off their feet when they were rejected? The dust took them all the way to creation when God formed Adam from dust. A time before sin.

 

The pair of disciples lived with one family during their entire stay. The family provided all their needs. This gave the disciples time to study the needs of the family. They could not help but see the sacrifices the family made to house the pair of disciples. They went out two by two so they had someone to discuss the sacrifices they received. This also showed the disciples a view of the sacrifices they would have to make. Because they had nothing of material value, they had nothing to offer the families who housed them in return except the authority Jesus gave them to heal, cast out demons, and share their experience with Jesus.

 

Jesus sent His disciples out following a specific pattern designed to teach them essential qualities. Some of these included, recognizing the sacrifices of others, learning to depend on others and the Holy Spirit, to help others, and most importantly, to share what Jesus gave them. In essence the disciples learned to share the love Jesus gave them. The disciples were able to witness the difference between the love of the world and love from Heaven, love that flows from Jesus through us.

 

John was one of the most passionate writers of the New Testament. We can see the lessons John was able to learn as he followed Jesus when he wrote: “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” (John 17:22-23 NLTse)

 

Can you imagine some of the experiences the disciples may have had? Some of them lived with people with little or nothing to share. Arriving at the home the disciples realized how little their hosts had to share. Children running around the small home with simple furnishings. Nothing more than a table, a few chairs, beds for the kids to share. How was this family going to provide for the needs of the disciples when they hardly had enough food for themselves? Met with happy faces the disciples felt a little ashamed with nothing to share as they accepted the simple gift of hospitality they received. Not only were the disciples blessed by believing the Spirit would provide for their needs, they learned a double portion witnessing the faith families had in the Holy Spirit to provide. The family knew the more they shared, the more God would bless them. It was all a matter of patience. How many times did the wife go to the jar of flour thinking it was almost empty to find it was still half full? Oil loaned years ago with no expectations to ever be repaid was suddenly returned with more than interest. After hearing they were housing Jesus’ disciples, neighbors came with gifts, food, bedding, more than required. Soon word spread. People came from near and far to be healed and listen to stories about Jesus. Gifts allowed the family to share food and what little room they had with others who had no place to spend the night. Some paid, all placed their blessings on the home.

 

The disciples saw how the faith of families was rewarded in more ways than they could imagine. The blessing had just begun. Little did the disciples know, they were in fact building a home based organization of church homes soon to be used to launch a new faith. These were the homes the disciples would go to with confidence after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension. Jesus was not only teaching His disciples lessons they would need in their independent ministries, they were actually establishing base homes for the new church to replace the institution whose days were numbered.

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