“Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.
‘Wherever you go,’ he said, ‘stay in the same house until you leave town. 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.’
So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.
– Mark 6:6-13
Go back and take a look at verses 7 and 12 again. Jesus calls his twelve disciples together and sends them out to minister, they go and tell everyone they meet to repent of their sins and turn to God. We know the disciples had been with Jesus for a while, but we do not know exactly how long. It most definitely doesn’t seem like it was enough time to get their M. Div. or whatever may have been the equivalent of that in their time. Yet, here we see Jesus sending them out because Jesus knew that even the common man, if he understands the message of the Gospel, is capable of sharing it with others.
Our church mission statement is “To bring a relevant Christ to a contemporary world.” And, as a church, we have often talked about being disciple-makers. But what does that mean? What does that look like?
Part of that happens here, in our church, as we build relationships with those in our church, growing together, encouraging one another, holding each other accountable and being willing to be held accountable. But, this also happens outside our church walls . . . in our workplaces, our neighborhoods and as we interact with people wherever we may travel.
The latter is what Jesus is sending the disciples out to do in these verses. Jesus had invested in them, taught them His message and bestowed on them the power to cast out demons and heal people. He could have kept His disciples close and continued to just focus on teaching them, but instead, He sends them out to teach and make disciples. He fulfills His promise to make them fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).
One thing that I find is interesting to note is that Mark does not specify if these men went willingly. There are no words such as those found in Isaiah, when he responds, “Here I am, Lord! Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). But still, they went. We do not read of any grumbling from the disciples when Jesus told them to go. It simply says in verse 13, “So they went…”
Note also, Jesus did not give them a second choice. He did not say, “Go if you feel ready or stay if you think you need more time.” That was not an option for the disciples, and it is not an option for us either. Once we have made the choice and grabbed hold of the truth of the salvation that Jesus’ death on the cross has given us, we have only one choice: to go out and share the Good News!