The Gospel of Mark

Mark - Lesson 6B

Chapter 6:7-13

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  • Last week, we covered the rejection of Jesus’ teaching and identity from those in His hometown of Nazareth.

    • This was not His first time there and the response that He received from His own came as no surprise.

      • We ultimately discovered that the response of familiarity to Jesus bred hostility to His identity.

      • In other words, the people were too comfortable in their childhood association to Christ that they missed His Divine identity.

    • What we were able to take away from this section of the text is that truth will bring about 2 responses, regardless of who you are or who you think you know.

      • Truth will either produce belief because it is indeed absolute truth or truth will bring about hostility because of an unbelieving heart.

    • Tonight, as we dive into the next few verses of the text, we will come across a pivotal moment in Jesus’ ministry.

      • As the rejection of His message and identity is increasing amongst His people, He is persistent to continue teaching despite the opposition and rejection.

      • And Jesus’ ability to endure the hardship of His earthly ministry will serve as a major teaching moment for His apostles in whom He will send out.

    • This trial run of sending out His apostles will prepare them for the journey they have committed to in following Jesus – even without fully having the plan in mind.

      • If I were to tag our text tonight it would simply be “The Trial Mission”.

      • With that being said, let’s read verses 7-13 of Chapter 6, together.

Mark 6:7 And He *summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits; 
Mark 6:8 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— 
Mark 6:9 but to wear sandals; and He added, “Do not put on two tunics.” 
Mark 6:10 And He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. 
Mark 6:11 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.” 
Mark 6:12 They went out and preached that men should repent. 
Mark 6:13 And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.
  • Let’s Pray.

  • In the education system, when teachers are beginning a new lesson, especially one that will be tested on a state exam, the lesson begins with an objective.

    • That objective is expressing in few short words what the student will learn from the unit.

      • And upon the students walking through the lesson, they may come up to a particular method that must be practiced over and over for mastery.

    • Within that preparation, the pedagogical method used is one known as “I do, You do, We do”.

      • This is where the teacher first demonstrates what the approach to the problem should look like.

      • Once the teacher demonstrates the appropriate way to do the problem, the teacher will then give the class the opportunity to approach the problem themselves (You do)

    • It is at the conclusion of the student’s approach that the teacher joins in with them as a simple facilitator for further questions that arise (We do).

      • And in this same way, we find Jesus presenting the apostles with a “You do” opportunity.

    • He will send them out after having witnessed Him in action over the course of time and now gives them the opportunity to engage in ministry as He has been.

      • We will witness Jesus do the following for these ordinary men in effort to prepare them for the work He has called them to:

        • 1. He will Summon them

        • 2. He will Send them

        • 3. He will Authorize them

        • 4. He will Instruct them

        • 5. He will Provide for them by way of the Father’s provision

        • 6. They will Proclaim for Him

  • Mark’s account here brings us to a point in the text where Jesus is now at a significant point in His ministry where He will send the apostles out on a trial mission.

    • This sending out is on the cusp of the twelve having witnessed the dynamic works of Jesus in person – up close and personal.

      • From Jesus healing the sick, expelling demons, forgiving sins, making the lame walk, expelling a blind and mute demon, demonstrating power over nature, the list goes on and on.

    • However, with all the demonstration of His power which would normally have lead to the revelation of His Identity and Person, the lack of belief from his own led to a National rejection of Jesus as Messiah, ensued by the religious leaders.

      • This is evidently what we witnessed with Jesus having arrived to Nazareth once again proclaiming the message of the Kingdom to those He knew.

    • But despite Israel’s National rejection of their Messiah, it did not prevent Israel (personally) from responding to and receiving their Messiah on a personal level.

      • This is where the significance of this mission comes into play with sending out the apostles.

      • With that in mind, pick me up at verse 7.

Mark 6:7 And He *summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits; 
  • Mark picks it up here in verse 7 right after the major opposition in Nazareth due to the people’s unbelief.

    • If you recall, right after the unbelief of those in Nazareth are displayed, verse 6b states, “And He was going around the villages teaching.”

      • And I mentioned in our last teaching that Jesus’ response was extremely encouraging because despite the opposition, the message was still being proclaimed.

      • The question that comes from this could be: “Well what was the point of consistently proclaiming a message to people who aren’t willing to accept it?”

    • And the answer to that question is simple: If God has still provided time for people to hear the message proclaimed, then there are people out there, by God’s providence, who will receive it but must first hear it. (The Remnant)

      • Most importantly, it reveals the compassionate heart of Jesus and that of the Father, which is for men and women to repent and trust in Christ.

      • 2 Peter 3:9 states it this way speaking to God’s patient endurance:

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.
  • We see this reality in Matthew 9:35-38 where Jesus mentions that His people are “like sheep without a shepherd”.

    • This sense of lostness came about through the leadership complex. However, God had a plan in mind. Check out Matthew 9:36-38 in the ESV:

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 
Matthew 9:37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 
Matthew 9:38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
  • What I find so refreshing in the text is right after Jesus mentions “the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers”, verse 1 of Chapter 10 states this:

    • “And He called to him the twelve.”

    • One quick point the text makes clear here is that the Lord already has His laborers in mind and will draw them forth in His timing.

      • One of the biggest blessings the Ministry has witnessed is wherever there has been a particular ministry need for a project of some sort, the Lord has always provided the person or place for that particular ministry need.

    • The Lord is quite resourceful and as Laborers for the Kingdom, He will always provide the need despite the necessity.

      • He is indeed the Lord of the Harvest!

    • So with the twelve being summoned for the mission ahead, Jesus strategically sent them out in an organized manner – He sent them out in pairs.

      • The question that may come to mind is: “Why send them out in groups of 2?”

      • Wouldn’t they be able to cover more ground by being sent out individually?

    • Going out individually would have sufficed for the sake of missional outreach, however it would be horrible for the sense of authorizing the testimony of the other.

      • According to RT France’s commentary on Mark, He states that sending out in pairs was practiced in the Hebrew scriptures.

    • Deuteronomy 17:6 mentions the fact that two witnesses established legal testimony and the need for both the messengers to support one another’s message thereby providing verification.

      • Check out the text really quickly:

Deuteronomy 17:6 On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.
  • So as these men are sent out two by two, they will be sent to proclaim the message of the Kingdom to the remnant of Israel.

    • And in receiving this message, the remnant would be informed about how the Kingdom program would be carried out moving forward due to the offer being rescinded for a time.

    • So in the meantime, those who would receive Christ and accept Him as their Messiah would in fact inherit the Kingdom once Christ came back in His 2nd coming.

    • And although the apostles were not fully knowledgeable of the plan in detail, they did proclaim what was given to them – and that is the message of the Gospel of God.

      • This was the message that John the Baptist proclaimed as well as the message that Christ proclaimed about Himself and that message was: Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand (it is before you now).

      • We will come back to this meaning of repent toward the end of the night so let’s put a pin here.

    • Lastly, in Christ’s commissioning the apostles for their mission, He gave them authority to do mighty works as a means of authentication.

      • It is worth our time to pause here and recognize that this authentication was solely apostolic in nature and Divinely given.

      • Meaning that God gave this authority to His apostles only and not to all believers and disciples following Him.

    • I mention this because today we have individuals who think that these works and authority is somehow spiritual giftings that God has given the believer for the Church, today.

      • Understand that the apostles had a very specific role in the establishment of the New Testament Church and God’s program for the Mystery Kingdom.

      • Therefore, the giftings that the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon believers is completely different in function and focus versus that of the authority Christ gave His apostles.

    • Now one thing you may notice throughout the gospel accounts is the authority Christ has given varies based upon the account.

      • Be it as it may, the variation is not problematic because what the Gospel writers are conveying within their accounts is that God has given them the ability to do what they have been commissioned to do.

      • You may also recall just a few chapters ago, it was the religious leaders accusing Jesus of doing all that He did by the power of Satan.

    • So Mark makes it perfectly clear that this authority and power in which the apostles are given is a God-given authority and ability.

      • Thereby making the apostles authenticated agents or representatives for Christ.

    • So with the summoning, sending, and authenticating power from Christ, He would now begin to instruct them on their mission.

      • Mark now moves to their instructions. Here is the first half in verses 8 and 9.

Mark 6:8 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— 
Mark 6:9 but to wear sandals; and He added, “Do not put on two tunics.” 
  • The Apostles are told to take nothing for their mission except for a mere staff. Nothing more, nothing less

      • And for this journey they are permitted to only wear their sandals and one tunic – not two.

    • One reading through this section of scripture may question the significance of the text here.

      • On top of that, looking at the other synoptic accounts could present further confusion because Matthew and Luke’s gospel mention taking no staff and other essentials.

    • I mention this detail because many theologians and scholars have brought up questions regarding these textual differences – such as:

      • “Why does Matthew and Luke’s gospel mention taking no staff and other supplies, but Mark mentions taking a staff?”

    • This matter can be cleared up by clearly looking at the Greek language and immediacy of the mission.

      • Matthew’s account uses the Greek word ktaomai which means “to get or to acquire”.

      • And the language conveys this sense of immediate need to go now and not to take time to search for the staff.

    • Mark’s gospel uses a broader meaning of the word which is airo which means “to lift or take up”

      • In other words, what you have on at this present moment is all you need to take with you.

      • So take the sandals you have on, take the staff you have in your possession, take the one tunic you have and begin your journey.

    • Luke’s account mimics Matthew’s account but conveys the same urgency.

      • So, what were the gospel writers conveying by the illumination of the Holy Spirit saying different things?

    • The accounts demonstrate the reality that the mission is vital – move now! But know that all that you will need, My Heavenly Father will supply.

      • In other words, your earthly dependency on things pales in comparison to the provisions of God.

      • It is God who is the ultimate provider for not just some of our needs, but every one of our needs.

      • We are reminded of God’s immeasurable riches and provisions in Philippians 4:19.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
  • From the staff, to the sandals, and even the tunic, everything that the apostles would need, through God’s provision, their every need would be supplied.

    • What was Jesus doing in allowing this group of untrained fishermen, tax-collectors, and the like, to go on a mission without Him there?

    • What was this test run going to show these men?

    • It would show them that all they would ever need for their mission for Christ both spiritual to physical would be provided for them by God Himself.

      • God is our sustainer, our way maker, our present help in times of trouble.

      • We need not worry ourselves with trying to best equip ourselves for the journey He is sending us on.

    • I remember telling Pastor Steve, I need seminary to equip me to pastor and he quickly corrected me and said you have the Holy Spirit to do that.

      • We must realize that where our resources and provisions falter or lack, God’s infinite resources and providential provision will always outlast ours.

      • And this reality would have to be something the apostles would have to fully rely upon both now with Christ’s earthly presence, but most especially when Christ departed to the right hand of the Father.

    • What I find most encouraging, and you should as well, is that their dependency upon the Father could be witnessed in Jesus’ dependency upon the Father.

      • At every moment before Jesus would perform great miracles in the region it was always preceded by communion with the Father.

    • What began as the apostle’s early confusion of Jesus’ intimate time with the Father would grow to fond appreciation and great need.

      • And may I say this should be the disposition of every believer. Time with the Father is necessary for effective ministry.

      • We now arrive to the last half of the instructions in verses 10 and 11. Check out the text.

Mark 6:10 And He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. 
Mark 6:11 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.” 
  • You must love Jesus’ approach to getting His apostles ready for a journey they weren’t fully anticipating.

    • It’s like telling a person you're going to teach them how to swim after they have seen you do it several times.

      • They then look at you and say, “Okay, you ready now?” and suddenly throw you into the deep end and say, “Go for it!”

    • Jesus, here, is giving the apostles a crash course, if you will, for how to go about their trial run.

      • He prepares them for the basics of what their mission for the early church would look like.

      • But what is most beautiful is He doesn’t leave them high and dry; He is physically present on earth with them.

      • Therefore, His presence serves as this flotation device if you will.

      • In other words, although they will be sent out, they won’t be alone because His authority and provision will be given to them and will provide for them.

    • Jesus first begins with the missional approach of humility for the minister in verse 10.

      • Jesus makes the effort of telling the apostles that humility is the mark of the sent out ones.

      • This goes right in accordance with the very nature of Christ: Total dependance of the Father and His provision.

    • I make this known because Jesus instructs the apostles to stay where they have been invited and not to depart from that place.

      • This invitation that the apostles would receive was an extension of hospitality and compassion from those who would hear the message of the Kingdom of God.

      • But ultimately this hospitality is extended because God was providing the opportunity.

    • Remember that this provision was covering the needs of the apostles, so this eliminated the excuse of more “preferred accommodations”.

      • The reality was it was common for traveling preachers to sleep outdoors in the ancient world.

      • And this is, in essence, Jesus’ point!

      • In other words, do not seek the better, more appealing offer from other homeowners, thereby risking your testimony with the more humble homeowner and their living conditions.

    • To put it more plainly, don’t allow your preferences get in the way of God’s provision.  Remain humble and grateful.

      • For the Pastor, whether you receive an honorarium or not, preach the Gospel well. Why, because God will provide.

      • Whether you are preaching in a room of 20 people or 20,000 people, preach the Gospel well. Why, because God is being glorified.

      • Recognize that God is the supplier and sustainer of your needs, not your greed.

      • And I just wonder, being that Judas sold out Christ for 30 pieces of silver, if this journey was not a sore spot for him.

    • So, Jesus makes it clear that His authenticated agents are to be marked by humility.

      • We then witness in verse 11 that Jesus prepares them for the eventual acceptance or rejection and overall opposition that will come with their call and summons.

    • Jesus lets them know there will be places and people who will accept the message of the Kingdom of Heaven and therefore will accept the messenger into their home.

      • And on the other hand, there will be some who will hear the message they bring and will reject the message, the messenger, but ultimately the object of the message.

    • It is here that we can witness another sense of Jesus’ leadership in His training of these untrained apostles.

      • What we see Jesus do in verse 11 is provide the apostles with a proper response to a rejected message.

    • Recognize that the rejection was a familiar response to Jesus’ message and ministry regarding the Kingdom of Heaven.

      • And Jesus makes the apostles aware that they will share in this rejection and persecution as well.

      • In other words, they have been invited to suffer for the sake of Christ!

    • In this instance, Jesus gives the disciples a proper response to the rejection and that was to “Shake the dust off the soles of their feet for a testimony against them”

      • When the apostles were met by opposition to the message, the gesture of removing dust from their feet was a sign of judgement against the unbeliever.

      • For example, even a household that would not receive them, the apostles would use the same gesture.

    • The same judgement that would befall a city that rejected Christ and His identity would be the same judgement to fall upon a household.

      • Check out what Luke’s account says regarding this matter in Luke 10:10-11:

Luke 10:10  But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say,
Luke 10:11 ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’
  • Shaking the dust off one’s shoes is the equivalent to our phrase, today, “I’ve washed my hands of that person.”

    • In other word, I’ve done all that I could do humanly possible, and they leave me with no other choice.

    • I believe this reality should free up every single believer in Jesus Christ. Why?

    • Because your role and my role as a proclaimer of the Gospel of Christ is to simply proclaim the message of truth.

      • You are not responsible for the results of people and their response to the message of the Gospel.

      • There will be some who respond positively because they have been called and chosen by God in eternity’s past, and to that end we rejoice.

      • However, there will be some who will hear the message and not respond to the truth.

    • Therefore, it’s important to recognize that they aren’t rejecting you, they are rejecting the only hope of true freedom and hope for salvation.

      • Check out how Paul and Barnabas responded to both the reception of some and the rejection of others they ministered to in Acts 13:48-51.

Acts 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. 
Acts 13:49 And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. 
Acts 13:50 But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 
Acts 13:51 But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.
    • Let’s look at the last two verses again.

Mark 6:12 They went out and preached that men should repent. 
Mark 6:13 And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.
  • Mark mentions that the message that the apostles have been entrusted to proclaim is the same message they witnessed John the Baptist and Jesus proclaim.

    • The message and the content was consistent.

      • This is key to acknowledge because the apostles were entrusted to take hold of this message and proclaim it.

    • The message regarding Christ during that time was that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah that God had promised long ago.

      • And that those who believed that Christ was the One in whom the Father sent, would be saved.

      • This would be the one in whom John would point to and the Spirit of God would rest upon this one and His name is Jesus Christ.

    • And upon hearing Jesus’ teaching and seeing the demonstration of His power, the people were to have a “change of mind” about who they thought Messiah was.

      • The word “repent” is the Greek word meta-no-eo which means to change one’s mind – to literally reconsider your own dispositions and abandon it for the truth that has been made known to you.

    • So it would be through the Divine authority of Christ as the God-man that would provide the authenticating authority of power for the apostles to authenticate the message they proclaimed.

      • Friends, this would be the apostles’ trial run into a ministry they were completely unaware of. They were the “sent-out” ones.

      • I say this because what began as the apostles observing and learning the words of Jesus and His actions, now moved to an open session of “doing”.

    • Those in who Jesus summoned and called to Himself would now be sent out on mission to do as their Master had done.

      • One question that one might ask is: “Why now?” and on top of that, were these men even ready for this mission before them?

    • The answer to that question is that the heat was turning up for Jesus’ ministry especially from Chapters 6-8:26 as this marked the last phase of Jesus’ Galilean ministry.

      • So what do you do when the pressure is applied and time is running short?

      • The apostles are thrust into the mission field, however they are equipped with all they need to complete the mission of the Kingdom program.

    • The goal of every disciple of Christ is to observe the Savior well that you may obey all that He has called you to do.

      • And in it all, to know that He has equipped you with all that you need for life and godliness in the Spirit.

    • I recall around 11 years old, my dad became unusually adamant about me becoming disciplined.

      • To learn how to take care of my responsibilities well and to execute them to the fullest.

      • In his last few months of life, that became the anthem from his lips as his discipline became sterner.

    • I experienced a similar thing with my spiritual father, Stephen Armstrong.

      • Weeks before he passed, he was on me about becoming more organized, learning how to make stronger decisions and sticking to it.

      • As well as being diligent in studying and preparing 2 messages per week.

      • And not too long after that he passed.

    • Why do I share this? Because Jesus was coming to the end of His earthly ministry as well and His apostles had to be made ready.

      • Even if it seemed too soon, the timing was perfect, and above it all, the Lord was with them through it all.

      • This mission would be a foreshadow of the ultimate mission they would have in making disciples of all nations in Matthew 28:19-20.

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 
Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
  • The reason that the apostles were able to do what Christ sent them to do is because He was with them and empowered them to do the work.

    • And friends may I encourage you in the text to know that you have been equipped and empowered because we now have the indwelling Holy Spirit.

    • Let’s Pray.