Friday, May 7, 2010

Mark 6:7-13 Jesus' Sends out the Twelve

7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. 8 He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts— 9 but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics. 10 Also He said to them, “In whatever 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 judgment than for that city!” 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.

Jesus sending out the twelve Apostle’s two by two is wise since the twelve Apostles had not yet been preaching the Kingdom they had only observed Jesus preach it. It appears the early church followed this pattern (i.e. Paul and Barnabas; Paul and Silas etc.). For the benefits of a twofold cord are self evident (Ecclesiastes 4:12). That Jesus commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff and sandals means the disciples would be dependent on those they preached too to provide sustenance for them. People’s reception or rejection of their words would also mean their reception or rejection of them. For if they accepted them as messengers from God than they would open their homes to them, but if they did not than they would not. And thus Jesus’ restricting the disciples to just a staff and sandals will reveal who was really willing to receive Him (Matt. 10:40-42). Jesus than commands the disciples, when they depart from a place that would not receive them or hear them, to shake the dust off their feet indicating that they (and thus Christ) has been rejected, therefore those people will bear their own judgment (vs. 11). Now Jesus gave the Apostle’s power over unclean spirits as well as power to heal those who were sick, something unique to the Biblical Apostles, prior to the Holy Spirit’s outpouring and afterwards. The purpose for their being supernaturally imparted with these abilities was then, as it was after the Holy Spirit’s outpouring, to bear witness to Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:3; Rom. 15:18-19; 2 Cor. 12:12). While Holy Spirit Gifts of healing are also listed later as something He choose to endow certain believers with according to His own will (1 Cor. 12:9, 28, 30).

Now their message was that the people should repent. When Jesus first preached He began by saying “Repent and believe for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). And when Jesus was criticized by the Pharisees for eating with Tax collectors and sinners He said to them … “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Matt. 9:12-13

Therefore calling sinners to repentance is preaching the Kingdom of God. Not that we as sinful people can in any way change ourselves or make ourselves acceptable in the sight of God; that is the essential difference between mere “religion” by which mankind tries to make themselves acceptable to God; (i.e. sacrifice) and the gospel which makes all men, women and children acceptable to God by what Jesus Christ does for us all. Suffering in our place, paying the penalty of our sins, which has separated us from God; thereby making the way, the only way, that we can be justified (or declared righteous before God) and thus brought into a personal relationship with God the Father when we believe in Him (Rom. 5:1-8). Therefore it is God’s Righteousness (not mans) in providing atonement for our sins; through Jesus Christ’s shed blood on the cross even while we were still sinners and enemies of God that saves us when we believe in Jesus Christ the Lord (Rom. 3:19-28; 5:8). Repentance then is the catalyst by which we draw near to God, for only those who see their need for Jesus Christ and His righteousness will have it (Luke 18:9-14). For we cannot save ourselves; either by our own obedience to the Law (Gal. 2:16, 19-21) or by our own works (Gal. 3:2-3), we can only be saved by God’s grace, freely given to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ the Lord (Eph. 2:8-9). Therefore for those who repent; that is turn away from their sins and turn to God looking to Jesus Christ crucified to appease the wrath of God against their sins there is abounding mercy (John 3:15-16). In fact more than just mercy there is new and everlasting life, which begins the moment anyone believes in Jesus. God’s Spirit comes and lives in us the moment we believe. For that is what Jesus promises in John 3:16, not just remission of sins, but everlasting life. A life which begins the moment we believe in Him, we are as He said born again, that is born of God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5) and thus we are transferred from being spiritually dead, to be being Spiritually alive, united with Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit for the day of Redemption (Eph. 1:13-14). For it is God’s Spirit who both sanctifies us and progressively transforms us into Christ’s image. Thus there is said washing and renewal and regeneration in everyone who believes in Jesus Christ the Lord by God’s Spirit transforming their person (Titus 3:4-7).

For Jesus Christ the Son of God was crucified so that we through His death and resurrection, than ascension back to the Father could be brought to everlasting life, restored to God, lit. bought back and brought out of our being spiritually dead in our sins and trespasses, separated from God, to being made spiritually alive, Risen with Christ and eternally united with Him by His Spirit and thus at peace with God, now able to live freed from a life that was once ruled by Law and or by sin (Rom. 6:1-14). Jesus Christ’s resurrection than as the firstborn amongst many brethren becomes the means by which we too will rise from the dead on the Last Day (John 6:40). Therefore having been reconciled to God by His Son’s death we shall also be saved by His life (Rom. 5:10). Therefore the Holy Spirit not only brings us into everlasting life but is a guarantee of that future promise (Eph. 4:30), who also imparts in us what are called the fruits of the Spirit. Now “… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Gal. 5:22-24
These fruits of the Spirit then are to govern a believer’s new life in Christ, not the Law (that is the Old Covenant Law which is called the ministry of death in the New Testament; since it cannot bring life to those dead in their trespasses and sins; only the Spirit of God can), nor the sinful passions of their flesh (since the wages of sin is death, Rom. 6:23), but God’s Spirit (2 Cor. 3:5-6, 9, 17) who brings to life everyone who believes in Jesus Christ the Lord crucified for their sins punishment and raised from the dead for their justification.

All Scripture Quotations
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

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