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Dependence on God (Mark 6:7-13)

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Jesus prepares the twelve to go out in pairs to preach and cast out demons. The focus of the instruction is the dependence upon God for provisions.

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Mark 6:7–13 NASB95
And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits; and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belt— but to wear sandals; and He added, “Do not put on two tunics.” And He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. “Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that men should repent. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.

Summoning the Twelve (v. 7)

Mark 6:7 NASB95
And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits;
Purpose: to proclaim the gospel (Luke 9:2)
Luke 9:2 NASB95
And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.

The Organization of Pairs

Pairs provide support, protection, using our differing gifts, encouragement, and teamwork.
By sending out pairs of teams it increases the gospel proclamation throughout the region and trains the disciples to know what to do after Christ returns to the Father.

The Authority Given

According to Matthew 10:8 they were given the authority not only over demons but also to heal the sick and raise the dead.
Matthew 10:7–8 NASB95
“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.
The word for “send” in the Greek is ἀποστέλλω (apostello), where we get the word apostle. It means to send away towards a designated goal or purpose.
The word for “authority” means the power or right to give orders or make decisions. So Jesus gave the twelve the power or right to give orders to demons. Note that this authority was specifically given only to the twelve and not all the disciples. Also note, that this authority had to be given. Therefore, it is not an authority that every Christian has to command demons and they must order. This authority was given for a specific purpose and that was the proclamation of the gospel. This does not mean that everyone that proclaims the gospel has this authority. The casting out of demons and healing the sick was a sign to vindicate the message proclaimed was from God.
There are three times in history that we see miraculous signs. First with Moses and it was followed by the writing of Scripture, specifically the first five books of the Bible then the historical books. Then after a period of silence when Scripture was not being written then we see Elijah following by the written of Scripture with the books of the prophets. Lastly, we see after a period of about 400 years of silence between the Old Testament and New Testament, Jesus does this miracles. Afterward we have the writing of the New Testament. These miraculous signs where for the purpose of verifying a new message from God to know that it is actually from God. We have not seen in history the claims that we hear today that Christian should be expected to do miracles as a normative event.
This was a specific authority given to specific people for a specific time with a specific purpose.

Instructing the Twelve (vs. 8-11)

Mark 6:8–11 NASB95
and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belt— but to wear sandals; and He added, “Do not put on two tunics.” And He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. “Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.”
There is a textual issue that ends up having to be addressed here between Mark 6: 8 as compared to Matthew 10:9-10 and Luke 9:3. In MarkThe disciples are instructed to take a staff, where as in Matthew and Luke it seems to indicate not take a staff. There are no known textual variances within these passages. It could be that there is a textual variance that we do not know of, but that would be a poor argument as it is not based on any evidence or proof. Some will point out that the word used for “take” in Mark and Luke is different than the work for “acquire” in Matthew. This argument would be used to say that they could take a staff but not acquire a staff along the trunk journey. This also is a weak exclamation. Suffice it to say there is no good way to reconcile this issue and I am not satisfied with the explanations I have read. (https://carm.org/bible-difficulties/matthew-mark/did-jesus-tell-his-disciples-take-staff-or-not)

Dependence upon God (vs. 8-10)

Protection

The only item that Jesus instructed them to carry is a staff. A staff would be a limb of a tree employed first for support when walking or as a weapon. Secondarily is was an instrument used for punishment. A staff would act as a walking stick through the difficult and rough terrain. This was a time where even though they have the Roman road, which were packed down dirt paths set a roadways, most of the walking was done in the hillsides and off those main roads. A staff would help for maneuvering one way on a journey. So a staff would be a protect against falling and hurting oneself. A staff is a deterrent as well as a defensive weapon against robbers and thief's they might happen upon. It can also be used to protect against wild animals.

Food

Jesus instructed them not to take any bread. Bread is the basic food and necessary for substance especially if walking great distances. This means that they would have to rely on the provisions of others and not provide food for themselves. Food is a basic necessity and something that many in America do not have to struggle with the worry about when the next meal will come. However, for most of the world that is not the case. In one African village I knew, they said Americans are so rich because we could not only have three meals a day but have three different meals a day for a whole month without eating the same thing twice.
How you ever considered that your food supply makes you very wealthy?
Living without knowing where your next meal is coming from can be extremely stress and concerning. There was a time in my life when I was homeless. I had no job, no income, no place to call my own, and I had no means to provide my next meal. Even when hungry I still struggled with pride. I was a deacon in the church with the access to the deacons fund to care for those in need. We always had several thousand dollars in the account to care for people in the church. Well, one might think that I was a good candidate for need. My pride was so great that I would not let the other leaders know and I would not just take the money for myself. So I went without food. However, never did I go without food for long. Even though I was too prideful to ask for help, God always provided. I was dependent upon God for my daily provision and sometimes it was really every other day not daily. But, God provided, sometimes a friend would stop by with food, or someone would offer to take me out for dinner. One such time a beautiful, young woman forced me to explain why I was not eating and went out that next day and bought me groceries that lasted two weeks. I married that woman.

Storage

A bag would be like a purse today. It was a bag or pouch used for storage. They would often be made of leather from animal skins or linen cloth with a draw string to close it. Bags were most often used for money, but could also hold food or water for long journeys. Remember, they did not have a local convince store along the road. Since Jesus instructed them to carry no food nor money, there might be no use to carry a bag. However, carrying no bag also means that if they stay at one home and someone wants to give them food or money for the next leg of their trip, they have no means to store it. Jesus wanted them to depend on God every step of the way. He did not want them to start off with nothing but later take reserves for the later travels.

Money

Money was not the light paper bills we carry today. It was often coins of some kind and usually heavier than the ones we carry today. Clearly, money was used to buy things that might need like food or lodging. Without money, the disciples would be complete dependent on the good will of others, but more so on the God who provides. Not taking money meant that they had not resources to care for their own provisions. We live in a very self reliant culture and it is extremely difficult for Americans to trust and rely on others to care for them. We want to do things ourselves. Make it our own way. God wants us to rely on Him and it is His way (sorry MacDonald’s).

Clothing

Jesus instructed them to take sandals not not two tunics. A sandal was a common kind of footwear in the ancient Near East that consisted of a sole tied to the foot with thongs or straps. They would not have a right and left show until 1818 first made in Philadelphia, PA. Sandals would be a standard dress code especially when traveling. They would protect ones feet against the rocks and things along the road or path. They were considered a necessity for traveling.
However, the tunics Jesus told them to only carry one, not two. A tunic was a basic garment of clothing much like a shirt worn as an undergarment. A tunic would be made of two pieces sewn together or sometimes seamless made on a special loom. Carrying only one tunic means that they would not have a change of clothes. This would mean that anywhere they go they would be wearing the same set of clothing and would have to wash the tunic while they wear it.

Lodging

The culture of the first century as in many Middle Eastern areas today, hospitality is expected. It would be a shame to not show hospitality to a stranger. That is strange to our thinking in this selfish, individualistic culture of America. However, this is not the case everywhere. I read some years ago of a men that was killed by the tribal elders because an American reporter was traveling trough the village and needed a place to stay for the night as there were no hotels. The man refused him lodging and the village elders saw that as a slight on the whole village. The man was stoned to death for his offense. This was a very different culture than ours today.
John MacArthur writes, “In a day when inns were often sordid and even dangerous, travelers generally stayed in people’s homes as they journeyed from one town to the next, and the Twelve were no exception. But Jesus added an important caveat in that regard: wherever they went, once they decided to enter a house for the purpose of lodging, they were to stay there until they left town. Given their power to heal diseases and cast out demons, they likely received invitations to upgrade their comfort by changing homes. But they were not to move from house to house, as if to receive money from more people. After they accepted one initial invitation, they were to decline all others.” MacArthur, J. (2015). Mark 1–8 (p. 291). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
So they should be accepting of whatever is offered and not looking for better comfort or provision. Remember that where they stayed including the food and other provisions that Jesus told them not to take. They were to trust God with the provision of lodging just as they had to depend on God for the other provisions. This would distinguish them from the false teaching that would travel and also look for the best they can find and seek upgrades where they can get them. It also sets them apart from the traveling teachers that would go house to house living off the good well of other seeking their resources to enable them in their sin.

Examples:

Pastor Steve with his heart surgery and Covid was accepting it as God’s will. In several phone conversations with him, he mentioned that he was ready to go home and be with the Lord, he just did not want to leave his wife and mother-in-law behind. He accepted his circumstances as the will of God, because he understand the sovereignty of God.
When Pastor Steve was sick and his electric went out in the rain, I went over to either start his generator or bring him to our home for the night. We did not care that he had Covid. I told him that he needed help and Scripture commands me to help my brother. If i get Covid from doing what is right then that is God’s will and I accept that.

Applications:

1) Covid
2) BLM
3) Lockdowns
4) Election
1 Peter 1:6–9 NASB95
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

The Reception (v. 11)

Mark 6:11 NASB95
“Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.”
As with any missionary journey or gospel outreach, the Lord prepared them for the reject that inevitably follows. If any place would not receive them or listen to their message, they were to go out from there and shake the dust off the soles of their feet as a testimony against that place. “Shaking the dust off one’s feet was a traditional Jewish way of expressing scorn toward Gentiles. When travelers ventured outside of Israel, upon returning to Jewish soil they would shake the dust off their sandals as an act symbolizing that they were leaving the uncleanness and contamination of Gentile lands behind them. What the Jews understood as a symbolic protest against uncircumcised pagans, Jesus applied as a sign of judgment against Jews who rejected the gospel (cf. Acts 13:50–51). The Twelve were being sent to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:6). But if the people to whom they ministered refused to receive their message, even after it was authenticated by miraculous signs, the apostles were to treat them as they did Gentiles.” MacArthur, J. (2015). Mark 1–8 (pp. 292–293). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
Matthew 10:11–15 NASB95
“And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. “As you enter the house, give it your greeting. “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. “Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.
We must never be surprised by the rejection of the gospel. For those that regularly evangelize we are more surprised, unfortunately, by the acceptance of the gospel and come to expect the rejection. Remember, that we are delivering a message of God to a people that are at enmity with God (Romans 5:10; James 4:4). Jesus was training the disciples to expect rejection in a hospitality culture, how much more should we expect it in a culture of self. If they killed Christ for telling the truth why should we not expect that they would want to do the same to us (Matthew 10:16-39; 24:9).
Matthew 24:9 NASB95
“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.
In Matthews account of this event, Jesus provides more instruction.
Matthew 10:16–23 NASB95
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. “But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. “For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.
Remembering that Jesus just left his hometown where the rejection was so strong that He would not do any miracles there except heal a few people (Mark 6:5-6). This instruction should not be a surprise to the twelve. So often however what should be common sense to us is unexpected. As we see with Jesus when He was in Nazareth, He did “not give what is holy to dogs” or “throw … pearls before swing” (Matthew 7:6). When we are rejected we should not try to fight and debate. We move on and leave the person to the Lord. Lord will save who He desires.

Sending the Twelve (vs. 12-13)

Mark 6:12–13 NASB95
They went out and preached that men should repent. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.

Went out Preaching (v. 12)

The word for preached in the Greek means to proclaim in the open air. It is was we often call open air preaching or open air evangelism today. It is an open proclamation to all who would listen. And what was the message that they preached? Repentance! Sadly this is a missing element of many gospel presentations today. The gospel message is one of repentance (Mark 1:15; Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Luke 3:3; 5:32; 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:22; 17:30; 19:4).

Vindicating the Message (v. 13)

John MacArthur explains why the disciples may have used oil, which was often used for medical purposes but that would take away from the miracle these healings were for the purpose of vindicating the message the twelve proclaimed. MacArthur states, “Mark notes that, as part of their healing ministry, the apostles were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them. The gospel records never indicate that Jesus anointed the sick with oil, yet the apostles did on at least this occasion. Though olive oil was sometimes used for medicinal purposes (cf. Luke 10:34), that was not its purpose here since the apostles healed the sick miraculously and not through the use of medicine (Matt. 10:8). Why then did they anoint the sick with oil? In the Old Testament, olive oil was used to symbolize God’s presence and authority, especially in the anointing of priests and kings (cf. Ex. 30:22–33; 1 Sam. 16:13). The apostles, then, anointed the sick with oil to symbolize the fact that their authority came from God and not from themselves; they were not the source of their power but only channels for it. By using a simple symbol, familiar to the first-century Jews, the apostles passed the glory back to the Lord Himself. As God incarnate (cf. Col. 2:9), Jesus needed no such symbol when He healed.” MacArthur, J. (2015). Mark 1–8 (p. 295). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
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