And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits. — Mark 6:7
When my husband and I bought our house a little over a year ago, we had a list of “improvements” we wanted to make. We believe that when we sell the house, the improvements will make it more appealing to potential buyers, and will hopefully increase its market value.
The first improvement was to convert the existing mudroom into a laundry room. This entailed installing a new washer and dryer hookup, drain, and electrical outlet in the room. In beginning this project, my husband first had to remove the siding and insulation from the exterior of the house. You can imagine my surprise when I returned home from work one evening to find a hole in the side of our house!
For days my husband worked diligently on this project. He bought PVC pipe and rerouted the hot and cold water and the drain. Then he installed the box with the washer and dryer hookups, and the electrical outlet. Finally, after many trips to the local building supply store, he was finished with the work inside the walls and could hang the new siding on the exterior of the house. This part of the project proved more difficult than the rest and he remarked to me, “Next time I do this, I am going to ask someone to help me!”
In the focus verse, Jesus sent the disciples out two by two. If they had gone individually, the disciples could have reached more people by traveling to more areas. However, Jesus knew exactly what approach was best. He knew that together, the disciples could strengthen, support, and encourage each other. This would be especially necessary when they encountered those who rejected their message. They would be able to display unity and agreement in doctrine, and there is strength in numbers.
The Lord gave His disciples power, and He has also promised to give us power. Sometimes we may be in circumstances where no other Christians can be with us. In those times, we must remember that the Lord has said He will always be there, so we are never truly alone. However, when it is possible, God also encourages us to find strength in numbers. He tells us that whenever two or more are gathered in His name, He will be there! We do not have to “go it alone” in this spiritual warfare. Let us take advantage of the opportunities God gives us for strength by worshiping with others, praying for each other, and helping each other in any way we can.
This chapter begins with the rejection of Jesus in His hometown of Nazareth. The people of His own country were offended at Him, and unwilling to view Him as anything more than a carpenter. Among Jesus’ siblings, two brothers are known to us today — James, who led the Jerusalem church and wrote the Book of James, and Jude (Juda), who wrote the epistle by that name. The unbelief of the people in Nazareth caused Jesus to choose not to work many miracles in that area, because He knew the miracles would be ineffective in convincing them that He was God’s Son.
Mark next gave the account of the commissioning of the twelve disciples. Jesus sent them out two by two with minimal provisions, but He gave them “power over unclean spirits.” Their message was the same as the one preached by Jesus himself and also John the Baptist: repent. Miracles were the result of their ministry.
Shaking the dust from their feet was a Jewish practice to indicate separation when they left Gentile areas. To shake dust from their feet when leaving a Jewish area was a strong signal by the disciples of a desire for separation from those who rejected Christ.
The third portion of the text gives the account of the death of John the Baptist. Palestine was divided into four territories, each ruled by a “tetrarch.” Herod Antipas, Herod the Great’s second son, was ruler over Galilee. His brother Philip was ruler over Trachonitis and Idumea. Philip’s wife was Herodias, but she left Philip and married Herod Antipas. After John the Baptist made this adultery a public issue, Herodias had a grudge against him, and she wanted him to be killed. Herod was reluctant to harm John, as he feared God would be vengeful. However, under pressure from Herodias and his advisors, he had John arrested. When Herodias’ daughter danced, Herod made a rash statement, promising half a kingdom that he did not have, since he was only a tetrarch under Rome. Yet Herodias seized the opportunity, and John the Baptist was killed.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The authentication of the Son of God
D. His power over men (6:1-6)
E. His power to delegate authority (6:7-13)
F. His power over pagan rule (6:14-29)
We can draw strength from working with others in the Gospel whenever we have opportunity.