Freshman Apostles, Mark 6:1-6a

There is no going for Jesus until we have gone to Jesus.  None are fit for men until they have been before God.

The 12 primary disciples are about to become Apostles.  Disciples follow, Apostles go. Disciple means “follower”, and they’ve been following Jesus around, learning from Him.  The word apostle comes from teh Greek word “apostolos”, meaning “one who is sent off”. The progression is: come, follow, go.  In Mark 3 Jesus called the Disciples to follow Him. He designated them Apostles, but, they had not yet been sent. They needed preparation to be sent.  That preparation came through following Him as His disciples. “

  

In this sense they enter into a historic and noble service.  “Abraham, Go to the land I will show you.” “Moses, go to Pharaoh”.  The whole body of OT prophets were each told to go: “Jonah, go to Nineveh”,  “Ezekiel, go to the house of Israel”, “Jeremiah, go to the house of Israel” and on and on…  God’s method is to send messengers. That method hasn’t changed moving into the NT. The greatest Apostle was Jesus himself.  He was sent from God to be His Messenger. So really, the role of the 12 Apostles is nothing more than a replication of the role of Jesus.  To “Go” is the essence of the Great Commission, “Go into all the world….” And in that sense we are all apostles, to go forth and bring the message:  bring it to our children, to the nursery kids, to the youth, to the neighbors, to our families, to our co-workers, to the people on the street, to the sophisticated 1st world man and the 3rd world man in the hut.  One message, billions of people.  

 

The basis of apostolic ministry is Jesus incarnation.  He was God the Father’s apostle, sent off from God as his representative, to make Him known to the world, “fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” (Heb 3:1)

 

Like ambassadors or envoys are sent out to represent the one who sent them to someone else the Twelve would be Jesus’ ambassadors to the world, His envoy bringing good tidings, His Representatives on earth to the earth.  they spent 3 years with Him, so they would each personally know Him, so they would be the most qualified and able to represent Him after He left. Its much like Jesus, as the word of God, with God for all eternity past, knowing God perfectly, thus the most qualified and able to represent God.  

 

THREE HEADINGS:  CALLED, INSTRUCTED, and SENT

 

#1:  THE TWELVE ARE CALLED (7)

They are called to Him.  Verse 7, “Calling the 12 to himself”.  It starts with a calling. They were called to follow Him earlier.  Now they are called to Him to be sent. Jesus would tell them later, “You did not choose me, but, I chose you and appointed you to go….you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” (Jn 15:16, 18).  Ephesians 4:11 reminds us that Jesus selects and sends people of His choosing, “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” This calling comes from God.

 

His calling is His will, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus” Colossians 1:1 begins, “by the will of God”.  His calling is also non-negotiable, His command to be obeyed, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus”, begins the 1st letter to Timothy, “by the command of God.”  

 

It is God’s choice, not ours.  The initiative is God’s alone. Mark 3 says, “Jesus called to Him those he wanted…”  Let every man carefully consider his calling to serve Jesus Christ. Is the call of Jesus on your life or is it a self-imposed calling?  No one should lift himself into Christ’s service. James 3:1 warns self-assertive people, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”  Don’t teach, don’t preach, don’t pastor, don’t go to seminary or the mission field unless you know you are called. (How to know you are called is a lesson for another time).

 

Application:  There is no going for Jesus until you have gone to Jesus.  You are not fit for men until you have been before God. You must have personally responded to Jesus’ call before you begin to sound the call for others to go to Him.  You must have seen Him yourself, experienced Him yourself, otherwise who are you to testify of Him to anyone?

  

Second, we also see they are Partnered, “…He sent them out two by two…”  Why does Jesus implement a buddy-system for this mission?  We could suggest several reasons.  

 

First, the Law.  The Law of Moses says that every testimony must be established by 2-3 witnesses (Dt. 19:15; 2 Cor. 13:1-2).  Designated Apostles (3:14), their assignment was to testify to the public. Their dual testimonies would be “legitimate” in this sense.  

 

Partnering up also reminds them they are never alone serving Christ.  Elijah was reminded that 7000 remained loyal to the Lord. We are all partners in the Gospel in church.  We must find in this place the constant reminder that we are not alone.

 

Third, we see them authorized, “…and [He] gave them authority over evil spirits.”  The 12 were receiving authority from Jesus. Specifically they were going to be in command of demons.  This is power. As men, they are weaker than demons, but, with Christ, they would have authority over them.  Their ministry would be extensions of Jesus’ ministry, with all the same features of preaching and expelling demons.  

 

In Mark 3, when they first began to follow Jesus, it said, “Jesus called to him those He wanted…He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they should be with Him [discipleship] and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons [apostleship].”  The description of their ministry is identical to the ministry of Jesus. Along with His preaching they would share in His power over demons.  

 

This would credential them as God’s agents, just as that power credentialed Jesus.  “Jesus was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, signs and wonders, which God did among you through Him…” (Acts 2:22).  Later, speaking of Apostolic bonafides, Paul said, “The signs that mark an apostle – signs, wonders, and miracles – were done among you with perseverance.”  (2 Cor. 12:12). Their authority over demons demonstrated they came with God’s authority.

 

#4:  THE TWELVE ARE INSTRUCTED (8-11)

Jesus dictates who will go for Him and how they will go.  Take that in for a minute.  

 

First, pack light.  Verses 8-9, “….”  On this Apostolic Maiden Voyage, they were not to take much with them.  Their tunic, sandals and a staff. No money, no food, no bag for extra belongings.  Very ascetic, very John the Baptist.  

 

There may be several reasons we can suggest for this.  First, as their first mission alone may have been a shorter local mission trip.  They seemed to stay within the Galilean region.  Luke records another mission trip Jesus sends them out on, actually 72 apostles.  On that trip they would work their way south towards Jerusalem and meetup with Jesus again there.  On that trip Jesus tells them to pack a lot more.  

 

Another reason was to teach them to depend on those they ministered to.  They would be sustained by the hospitality of others.  The pattern is that those who sow spiritually should reap materially.  It’s a pattern, a principle in Scripture. But its a heart thing too: the people who rejoice in the ministry they receive respond by giving materially.  As they provided spiritual goods to people the people would supply material goods to them. That’s a principle in the Scriptures (Rom 15:27; 1 Cor. 9:11:-14; 2 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 6:6).  The point of this is to intertwine the hearts of the apostle and the church. Nothing endears the two to each other more than to know they’ve each received from the other in love.  

 

Another reason they may have been told to pack light was that they needed to learn to trust God while they served Him.  They were to learn not to concern themselves with their needs while they were focusing on their charge.  They needed to experience the faithfulness of God while they served Him. He takes care of those who serve Him.  That’s how Paul could write Philippians chapter 4.  

 

The second instruction was to bring blessing.  “Whenever you enter a house stay there until you leave that town.”  Matthew 10 records more details about this, “search for some worthy person there [who welcomes you] and stay at his house until you leave.  As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it…”  

 

There will be people who are going to receive you and your message.  For that they will be blessed. But it is not you only they are receiving.  They receive the One who sent you – Jesus.

 

The third instruction was to curse.  Verse 11, “…….”  Shaking the dust off you sandals was a serious denunciation.  When Jews were coming back into Israel they would stop at the border and shake the dust off their sandals so as not to bring dirt from the dirty Gentile lands into the holy land.  So to shake the dust off at Jews who rejected Jesus was a sign to them that they were now considered “unclean”, not fit for the holy land. Paul and Barnabus were expelled from Galatia by the Jews and they shook the dust from their sandals off at them as they left (Acts 13:51).   

 

But it went even further when it comes to the NT in that it showed that you, as a messenger of God, were no longer under any obligation to speak the truth to that person or group.  From that point on their blood was on their heads. Again in Corinth, Paul was abused by the Jews and after shaking the dust off his clothes at them he said, “Your blood be on your own heads!  I am clear of my responsibility!” (Acts 18:6). When they arrive at Judgment Day they will be without excuse because they rejected the message when they were told.  

 

Matthew records the same instruction but gives us more details, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.  I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”  

 

Lesson:  Christians, we are to find our acceptance in our heavenly Father and His family.  Understanding our place with Him means we can endure any rejection. Sometimes rejection of man must be experienced to take us into a deeper understanding of God’s acceptance of us.  

 

…It is not true that everyone who accepts Christ and serves Him will face persecution by his family and hometown.  However, it is true that God demands our allegiance to Him before anyone else. And, sometimes part of God’s plan is to birth a person in the fires of rejection – rejection by those closest to that person.  There is a parallel of the individual Christian with the Church of Christians as a whole. The Church was born in history in Jerusalem, but, Jerusalem rejected the Church and persecuted it. This persecution led to the worldwide spread of the Gospel.  Here today we see Jesus rejected by His own hometown of Nazareth, and then the spread of His message to the rest of Israel.  

 

Application:  Opposition may be God’s redirection for you.  God may use opposition to move you in a new direction He has planned for you.  

….disciples accompanied jesus to witness this rejection by nazareth.  what purpose for them did jesus have in it? they were about to be sent out to preach, don’t expect people to receive you; seeing jesus rejected would have bolstered their faith in him more, and showed them that faith is not necessarily a family thing; they would be rejected and they needed to see their master handle rejection first

 

People are going to reject you.  We are to long for their acceptance of Christ, but, not for us.  We’ve been accepted by Christ, we don’t need them. We want their salvation.  

 

If they reject you they are rejecting Christ.  That’s the principle in Scripture. Sometimes you hear that people are not rejecting you, but Jesus.  It’s both. You are being rejected along with Jesus. THis is what the NT is talking about when it talks about sharing in the sufferings of Christ.  Jesus is being rejected, and so are you (Acts 5:Php. 1:29; 3:10; 1 Peter 4:13-14

 

There is a principle in Scripture that goes like this:  how you treat the representative is considered how you treat the one who sent them.  Pharaoh’s treatment of Moses was considered his treatment of God Himself! All the persecution the prophets received God considered it personally against Him.  How the Apostles and the Church are treated Jesus considers that how He is being treated (“if you give a cup to one of these you’ve given it to me”)

 

It goes the other way too though.  How the representative acts with the authority they are given God will honor it.  If it is consistent with God, He will support that representatives decision.  

 

#3:  THE TWELVE ARE SENT (12-13)

They are called, trained, instructed, partnered, authorized and now they are finally sent.  

 

They preach.  If they do nothing else they are to preach.

 

They heal.  Read matthew 10:8..

 

They drive out demons.  They expel demons.  

 

The reason they were sent out was to preach.  Preaching was their purpose. In this respect, their mission was no different in nature than that of Jesus’ mission.  Jesus came to make the Father known to man, to announce the kingdom, to call people to repentance and faith in Him. That would be the preaching of the Apostles as well.  And the power that attended Jesus would be given to them as well: healing every kind of sickness and driving out demons.  

 

Application:  the mission of the Church is fundamentally the same too:  to preach Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, to call people to believe on Him for their salvation, and to disciple believers into spiritual maturity.  Judge a church by that.

 

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