Friday, January 13, 2017
Sending Out The Twelve
“And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.” (Mark 6:1-3)
Jesus returned to the area around Nazareth, accompanied by his disciples. The people were amazed at his teaching in the synagogue, questioning where he had learned these things, because after all they knew his family and he had never been away to school to or other special training. It is exactly what Matthew 13:54-57a describes. “And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him…” They were amazed at his miracles and teaching, but because they knew him, they thought he was just trying to make himself appear better than they were.
“But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.” (Mark 6:4-6)
Jesus pointed out that people tend to take those they have known for a long time for granted and overlook their wisdom and experience while readily accepting those who have far less experience or skill simply because they don’t know how much experience they really have. As a result of their disbelief, he was not given the opportunity to do many mighty works such as he had done in the surrounding towns such a Capernaum or Bethsaida. He continued to go through the local communities teaching but with little impact.
Even in the cities where he had done the most miracles, the focus was on the miracles rather than on what he was teaching, as Matthew 11:20-24 tells us. “Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.”
It is very easy to draw a crowd for a program to help alcoholics or the homeless or for a music program or revival who have no interest in the teaching, but just want to be part of the activity. As a result even they miss the most important part of God’s word. Those from his hometown missed even the excitement and miracles. In order to reach out to others beyond the local area Jesus had to send out his disciples.
“And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” (Mark 6:7-11)
Jesus sent out his disciples, instructing them to make no effort to raise support or supply their needs, but to simply trust him for their everyday needs. When they went into a town, they were to settle in the first place that showed interest and focus on teaching that area rather than looking for a better place. If a place did not welcome them they were to go on down the road to the next town, shaking the dust off their shoes as a testimony against that community. God would punish the people of the community for ignoring his word. It was not their place to try to make people listen.
“And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” (Mark 6:12-13)