Mark: According to
He Sent Twelve
4 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. 5 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10
Have you ever wondered beside for the obvious reason why God created both Adam and Eve. Perhaps you like me have wondered about the beginning of this passage in Mark 6:7 in which Jesus called the twelve to Himself and began to send them out two by two. After all, think how much more ground they could cover if each went on their own. But this is not God’s way. So much ministry as a pastor is done alone, yet it is much more enjoyable when done with another. Then for those really important conversations, it is necessary to bring another in. We often say, “Because there is strength in numbers.” But the reality is as our text from Ecclesiastes states, we are sometime subject to failure or the allurement of sin presents itself and when there is another with you, it is helpful and necessary to give support to each other. I have also found it is best to have ministry teams in which the two complement each other. Sometimes one is better at everyday conversation while the second is more biblically knowledgeable. Some are more caring and loving while others are more logical in their approach to missions and ministry, but it is when we are paired together in a way that our spiritual gifts complement each other we then have a better chance of meeting the needs of those we are sent to minister to.
So he called the twelve to Himself and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.
Whenever preparing for a ministry opportunity I feel most comfortable by being fully prepared, making sure all the T are crossed and i are dotted. Do I have adequate supplies with along with money and whatever else I might need.
But Jesus did something really strange for those of us that want to be well prepared. He told His disciples they were to bring nothing with them. No food, no money, no bag full of extra things, to only bring a walking staff, and oh yes wear your Sandals and not to put on two tunics.
I have often wondered by this command to “wear Sandals” if Jesus was looking forward to the words of Paul in Ephesians 6:15 where Paul said for the saints to “shod their feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” After all, what has been happening over the last few chapters of Mark, why of course preparation for service and showing the disciples the importance of faith and the necessity of faith.
And this section ends with these words, 12 “So they went out and preached that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.” By all accounts the trip must have been successful, right? So then, why give us verses 10 and 11?
10 “Also He said to them, ‘In what ever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. 11 And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgement than for that city.’”
Why bring these two wicked cities into the conversation at all? We all know the problems these two wicked cities had and that they were destroyed and now the dead sea resides where these two cities once stood.
Christ is saying that when we present the gospel message, we are to present it with sincerity and simplicity. We are never to force the point, pound home the theology, we are to present truth in a manner that all who hear should be able to accept. But there are those that upon hearing will reject the message. What Jesus is saying is those that hear the call of repentance and the true message of the gospel and chose to reject it will be judged, by what they know and since their knowledge of God is greater than the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah it will be more tolerable for those cities than over ones that knew of God’s great love and rejected it.
The act of dusting one’s feet off as they leave a house or city was a symbolic act of censure to the one or ones that showed a lack of hospitality. Here is the other point, if the words of repentance are not accepted where they are preached, move on, leave them to their own devises. Our job is not to pound into others the gospel message but to present it, and upon rejection, move on to others that will be receptive of the gospel message. God knows their condition and their heart and where they may reject it now, they may at another time accept it because of the seeds you planted.
It is our job to present the truth in both words and actions, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to their heart.
So, they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
To me, this sounds very similar to the great commission given by Jesus just before his ascension where we read in Matthew 28:19, 20. Jesus asked His disciples as he sent them out two by two to do all the things he had been doing since they had become his disciples and the purpose of a disciple is to make more disciples. If we claim as Christians to be disciples, then isn’t it our responsibility to go two by two presenting the gospel of repentance and attending too the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of all we come in contact to. Then if rejected, move on to others leaving the Holy Spirit to strive with the hearts of those who reject our message.