Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Mission of the Twelve

"And he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick" (Luke 9:2).

In Luke 8 we saw Jesus casting out demons and healing the sick. In Luke 9, Jesus transferred to His twelve core disciples both the power and authority to do these things. He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom and to bring home the reality of the kingdom by healing.

He instructed them to “take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic” (v. 3). When we travel, we take along extra clothes and other things to help us. Jesus said to the disciples, “Travel light.” They were being sent on a whirlwind tour, and they were not to settle down for any length of time anywhere.

Verse 5 is almost a harsh statement: “If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town as a testimony against them.” In other words, “Don’t spend too much time in one place. Don’t pour your energy into people who are not willing to hear you. Go to those people who are open. In fact, your mission is so holy that if they don’t receive you, you are to shake the dust off your feet as a sign of God’s displeasure with them.”

And so they “went from village to village, preaching the Gospel and healing people everywhere.” One of the interesting results of their mission is seen in the following verses: “Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life” (vv. 6–8).

We can imagine the impact on the culture that Jesus had when He alone would preach and heal people. Now that ministry had been magnified. There were twelve other people doing the same thing under His power and authority. They were blitzing the cities. Herod, as king, perceived this as destabilizing his kingdom. Something new and powerful was on the scene!

This passage shows us how the Gospel stirs up society. The disciples preached the Word and actively applied it through works of compassion. They stripped down for the task and made themselves busy with it. Think today about what extra baggage you may be carrying and how it deters your work for the kingdom.