The Book of Luke, The Training of the Twelve – Lesson 111
Outline of Chapter Nine of the Book of Luke
1. THE SENDING
OF THE TWELVE (9:1-6)
TRANSFIGURATION BEFORE THREE DISCIPLES (9:28-36)
HEALING OF THE EPILEPTIC BOY (9:37-43)
7. JESUS’ TEACHING OF HIS DEATH (9:44-45)
TEACHING ABOUT GREATNESS (9:46-50)
9. THE BEGINNING OF THE JOURNEY OF JESUS TOWARD JERUSALEM (9:51-19:27)
Luke 9:1-6, Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 3And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. 4And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. 5And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. 6And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
In Matthew’s account in chapter 10, verses 2-4, of this same calling of the disciples, Matthew gives us a list of the disciples that were called to fulfill this mission of preaching the kingdom of God and the healing of the sick.
And this list is given in pairs of men.
Mark in chapter 6 tells us that they were sent out two and two.
They did not all go together to the same village or town but went out in pairs in order to cover the Galilean area as Christ’s official ambassadors or apostles, men clothed in authority to represent their Sender.
They did not go in their own name, but went in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and were endued with authority and power to carry out this mission.
The ministry was to be from village to village, which suggests that it was those small, out of the way places that the apostles would go.
They were those places which had not yet been visited with a messenger of the good news of the kingdom of God.
As we learned in previous verses rumors of the healing and miracle working ministry of Jesus Christ had reached these places, but there had not been an accurate and authoritative proclamation of the good news of the kingdom of God.
So they were sent to these villages in pairs.
These pairs were according to the list given in the Gospel of Matthew:
· Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother
· James the son of Zebedee and John his brother
· Philip and Bartholomew
· Thomas and Matthew the publican
· James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus
· Simon the Canaanite and Judas Iscariot
These disciples were called together by the Lord and received a commission to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Some of these men had homes in Capernaum so the calling of them together may imply that they were called from their homes to assemble for this commission.
Luke tells us that they were given both power and authority to carry out this ministry.
Power and authority! The might and the right!
You know that without power, authority can do nothing if anything is expected to be accomplished.
So both authority and power, right and might, to carry out that authority must be given.
The Congress may declare war on another nation and give the President authority to engage in that war but if the congress does not give him the money to buy the weapons nor does the congress give him money to equip an army of men that authority has no power.
So authorization and appropriation is required in order to get the job done.
The same thing happens in the home.
Father and mother are given authority to rear up children. That is the right.
They are also given power to use that authority in the rod. That is the might.
So Jesus Christ gave each pair of these disciples, authority to preach, authority to heal and the means or power to do both.
Jesus equips them with power that is similar to his own, but their power was derived from him, his power was inherent in himself but their power was a given power.
They not only had the power but they had the right to use that power.
Permission had been granted to them by God himself though his Son.
These powers to drive out demons and to heal diseases were the credentials with which Jesus sent out his disciples.
They were his stamp of approval on their ministry.
These powers gave credibility to the proclaming of the coming of the kingdom of God, the coming of the divine rule of grace, in the Messiah and the manner in which this rule enters and saves men’s souls.
William Hendriksen in his commentary defines the preaching of the kingdom of God in this way:
Preaching of the kingdom of God means therefore the lively proclamation of the reign of God in human hearts unto salvation full and free.
It is God sitting on the throne of a human heart that has yielded itself, that has bowed itself to Jesus Christ as its Savior.
The people were to learn by the preaching of the kingdom of God that people are saved by the entrance of the God of love and grace into their hearts and lives.
Salvation was in Jesus Christ and him alone and not in a strict adherence to the hairsplitting observance of the law as the Pharisees and scribes so preached.
The disciples were given authority to preach the kingdom of God, as Jesus preached the kingdom of God, neither adding, changing, or subtracting in any way by any wisdom of their own.
They were to follow Christ’s agenda and His alone, and not introduce another agenda of their own.
They were equipped, including the disciple Judas, who would one day not so far from this event, deny the Lord Jesus Christ.
So even Judas who would betray Him, was for a time given the power and authority to preach the kingdom of God and to cast out devils and to heal the sick.
He and others like him may say at the judgment as Jesus tells us in:
Matthew 7:22, Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
There had been much training at the feet of Jesus given to these disciples and they had been with the Lord all this time but it was of the Lord to begin to wean them from his direct presence.
The time had now come for them to go out on their own for there was a need to learn valuable lessons without His immediate presence; to learn to trust him, to meet and solve problems alone.
It is a lesson in child rearing isn’t it.
There must be a time of weaning, a time of independence to test the training that has been given.
The Lord knew what lay in the future and their future was to be a future without his daily human presence.
A Bible commentator named Godet wrote this:
“There is something greater than preaching – this is to make preachers; there is something greater than performing miracles; that is to impart the power to perform miracles.”
Jesus Christ had said to these men, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
This was just the first step as they were commissioned and given power to carry out that commission.
In verse 3 we read: And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.
Try this command on your mate as you get ready for a trip.
Even try to say, take half of what you usually take.
That would be hard enough but to take nothing for your journey must be an important “lesson learning” command for our Lord to give.
Take no walking stick, take no bag, take no no bread, take no no money, take no extra tunic or undershirt.
We do not know now long this campaign went on, but it would seem to have lasted many days.
For this most anyone would require a great number of necessities.
Jesus not only forbade the disciples to take along extra supplies, He insisted that they not take along even the necessities, such as their food.
The apostles were to be provided for by the people in the villages they visited, but in a very closely regulated way.
They were to come to one of the houses in each village, and announce their message to the residents, and, I suppose, to offer to minister to the physical needs of those people as well.
If the people of this particular house received the pair, they were to make this house their headquarters, the central hub of their ministry.
From here the entire village could be reached.
The disciples were not to go from house to house, but were to stay at one house in the village.
If welcomed, they were to stay at that one house until they left to go to another village.
The people at that home were expected to provide “bed and breakfast” as it were, food and lodging as long as they stayed.
Perhaps in some cases there was help given from others in the village.
Since the apostles not only preached, but healed and cast out demons, their ministry was well worth this small price.
If the two disciples were not welcomed, the entire village was to be abandoned, accompanied by a symbolic gesture which underscored the Gentile‑like uncleanness of these people.
5And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
The response of the first household, then, determined whether or not the team would stay in that village or not.
These instructions which our Lord gave to His disciples — not to take along any of the needed provisions for their travels —should not be viewed as universal instruction, applying to all missionaries or witnesses in all situations.
We know that traveling this way is not always required, for later in Luke Jesus specifically reversed the instructions He gave the disciples in our text:
Luke 22:35‑36, And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
There was a specific purpose for the instructions which Jesus gave His disciples, a purpose that would be fulfilled, so that different instructions would be given for the future.
I believe that the Lord Jesus, in sending out His disciples without the essentials they needed, was training the twelve to trust Him for their every need, and especially for their daily needs.
The orders that Jesus Christ issues to the apostles are to teach them absolute dependence upon the one who sends them out.
Here again we see the adage, “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.
So Jesus Christ puts his men in extremis that they must call upon God for help.
This is the same thing that He asked of the rich young ruler, “Sell all that ye have and follow me”, was his way of putting the rich young ruler in a position of trusting God for his every provision.
This very ministry has been though this school of God and I am so thankful for it for because of our extremis we have seen the faithfulness of God who was then given opportunity to work in our midst.
If the disciples were to have a roof over their heads at night and food on the table, the power of God would have to be real in and through them.
The gospel would have to work in a practical way for them.
“No work, no eat” has a very different, but a very real relevance to the apostles as they went about, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God and healing the sick.
Had the disciples been allowed to take their own provisions along, the response of the villagers would not have been as evident, and the faith of the disciples would not have been put to the test.
Our Lord’s instructions to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11) certainly took on relevance as these twelve men went their way.
They went their way relying upon God’s power to work in and through them, so that the people would receive them and their message as from God, thus supporting them with food and lodging.
The disciples had heard a great deal of teaching from the lips of the Lord Jesus.
They had learned a great deal of theology.
But now they needed to learn to trust in Him and His Word.
It was the practical theology of trusting Him to empower their ministry and to meet their needs that they were going to learn this in their first, missionary campaign.
The command to take no provisions was designed to create an environment of need where faith was required and where obedience was tested.
After this lesson had once been thoroughly learned, they would be ready for their world-wide mission so that, whether they had something with them or not, their dependence on their Lord would always be the same.
The ultimate issue for the people of God in every age is not, “How much do you know?” but, “Who do you trust?”
There is a time for learning but that learning must translate into trusting.
The disciples are about to experience the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus in a new way, by living and walking by faith, by trusting in His power and faithfulness, even in His absence.