Mark 6:6b-9English Standard Version (ESV)6b And he went about among the villages teaching.
7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Calling Part 1
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: In the Lord's Place
Accompanying David Legge sermon: The Reproduction of Power in Effective Service
Jesus was the only teacher. But He knew that He wouldn't be around too much longer, and that even while He was still here, He would multiply himself by twelve if He would delegate both truth and power to the disciples and send them out to teach. They had been with Jesus for some time now, and this would be their first mission, after which they would come back and they could see how things had gone and what they needed work on, and Jesus could finish preparing them for when He would leave permanently. It's like a short term missions trip.
As MacArthur says, they were sent out in pairs for.... mutual support, mutual protection, to make everything they said confirmed in the mouth of two witnesses, to blend their unique gifts and talents and skills and to bring double witness to what they were going to repeat that they had heard and seen in Jesus.
MacArthur also mentions that it was a judgment on legalistic Judaism that there was not one priest, scribe, Pharisee, or any other member of the religious establishment in this group of twelve. They completely rejected Him, hated Him, and wanted Him dead. Not exactly what you're looking for in representatives.
Instead, Jesus chose twelve ordinary men to become the new leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel. And He sent them out to preach the kingdom, the message of salvation. He gave them divine power, to be used compassionately (v7 - authority over unclean spirits). This power was necessary as proof of their authority as His disciples, and was done in a personal way (healings, etc) to demonstrate His compassion. And they were not supposed to profit from these supernatural gifts, differentiating themselves from the false teachers. Of course, this doesn't mean that we're not supposed to pay our pastors, but in this particular training mission, they had to make sure to resist the temptation to profit from their authority, and to rely on God to provide for them. That dependence on God is one of the greatest, and perhaps the hardest, lessons to learn.
We don't have the same divine authority the disciples has (it's no longer necessary in order to prove our authenticity - that can be done by comparing our words and deeds to scripture). But there are still implications for us as followers of Jesus.
MacArthur sums it up....
if you want to be a messenger that stands in the long line of faithful messengers descending down from the Apostles, proclaim salvation, manifest compassion and live dependently. Don’t put a price on your ministry. Receive everything God gives you with grace and gratitude, hold it lightly in your hand and use it for the advance of the Kingdom.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Mark 6:10-13
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