The Twelve’s First Mission

As the old saying, “All good things must come to an end.” And for Jesus, the good ministry he is working in Galilee is winding down. The reasons may be two-fold: first, as seen with the demonic, the people may be forcing him out. Second, it is time for his ministry to head for the mission point, namely Jerusalem. He cannot stay home for his whole life if he is to be the Savior. Perhaps it is a combination of the two. Whatever the reason, it is now Jesus to move is operation elsewhere and to prepare his way, he is sending out the Twelve. They have seen the miracles; they have heard the messages. The question is “are they ready?”

The Men Jesus Equips

Remember that this is the curious band of men only Jesus could pull together. Tax collectors, Zealots, fishermen – these are the kind of men who gel very well. And, yet, Jesus is doing it. It is this band of men he gives “power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases.” He both qualifies them and authorizes them for their mission. What is their mission? “To preach the kingdom of God.” Curing sick people and driving out demons are signs of the authority they carry with them. They have divine authorization to speak these things concerning the kingdom of God.

But Jesus also gives them instructions. They are not to take anything – “no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.” Jesus is explicitly clear that the Twelve are to focus on the task. That is, don’t worry about they other things, God will take care of them; you preach the kingdom. God will provide the houses to stay at. If you are not welcomed, shake off the dust when you are done preaching there “as a testimony against them.” Morris says concering this practice, “it declared in symbol that Israelites who rejected the kingdomwere no better than the Gentiles.”

Equipped with the qualifications and authorization, as well as the detailed instructions concerning their welcome or unwelcome in towns, in simple obedience the Twelve went out doing exactly what Jesus commanded them to do. Truly, we can learn from this example. We need not worry about the means of how we are going to be taken care or where the funds will come from for kingdom work – it will come, God will provide. We need only concern ourselves with the preaching of the gospel. Unlike the apostles who need their word confirmed, we have the word made more certain, already confirmed by apostolic testimony. It just needs to preached.

The Misunderstanding over Jesus

Herod the tetrarch is an interesting fellow. As ruler over the territory Jesus was preaching in he would be interested in the reports he was hearing. The text says he was “perplexed” concerning what he was hearing about Jesus. That is he was at a loss and perhaps embarrassed because, based on some of the reports he was hearing and believing, John the Batist, whom he had beheaded (v.9), was back from the dead. The other reports, which Luke records for us, were that Elijah was present, or some other prophet. However, I believe it is safe to say that Herod was most interested in the John the Baptist reports based on his response.

The interesting thing about Herod is that “he tried to see him,” that is Jesus. Herod tried to see Jesus. I don’t how he went about doing this, but as far we know, he did not see him until the end of Luke (23.8). And when he sees Jesus, what is it for. Certainly Jesus is on trial. But when Jesus arrives, Herod wants a miracle (23.8b). Not salvation is Herod after, but a show. What a pity! Standing before him is salvation, and all Herod wants is a miracle performance. Hence, Herod is interesting only as a car accident is interesting – really it is just sad.

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