The Twelve Disciples; Instructions for Service
Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9 Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. 11 And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. 12 As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13 If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. 14 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. 15 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.
On any large project that involves a lot of people, a few are always called out to take on more responsibility than others. Here Jesus calls out His twelve. He has an urgent mission for them. Their sacrifice is great – cutting off ties, completely changing their lives, going wherever they’re asked to go. They will essentially be doing what Jesus has been doing – healing, exorcising, proclaiming the Good News. Then they’re told that although some people will be excited to see them and eager to listen to what they have to say, others will not be.
Have you been called to something for God? Given greater responsibility? Maybe it’s raising children to live and love like Jesus. Maybe it’s changing jobs or re-locating or going on a missions trip. Are you willing to make the sacrifice? Are you willing to deal with being unpopular?
Prayer: Gracious Lord Jesus, give me courage to be unpopular for You.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)