Jesus has called twelve followers to specifically be with him as disciples. The number twelve was symbolic. If he was the new king of Israel, then they represented the beginning of new Israel, twelve apostles for twelve tribes. Now, he sends them out. They become involved in his mission, apostles are those who are commissioned and sent out.
Their job is in effect to replicate what they have seen Jesus doing, the are to teach/preach about God’s Kingdom and they have authority in his name to cast out demons. They are to be focused in their mission, not distracted and constantly looking for better options. When they arrive at a house where they are welcomed they are to stay there.
They are to travel light, just the one cloak, not weighed down with bags and money. This potentially reflects a couple of things. First, that this was a short term initiative. They were to head back to Jesus soon, they weren’t preparing for the long haul. Second, they are stepping out in faith, they will need to trust God to provide. The reference to money bags may contrast with other travelling philosophers who not only prepared and took money with them but expected financial reward for their teaching from those they went to.
We should be careful about over relying on this passage for a blueprint of how to do evangelism today as partly it is describing a unique activity of the Apostles. However, I think that what I’ve described above does carry some implications. The main two are
- That we are to imitate Christ. This isn’t just about learning a methodology or model. More than that it is that our lives, our character should resemble his as he fills our life and works in us to transform us through the Holy Spirit.
- That we are to depend on him. That all aspects of our mission should be an expression of faith. This means that we don’t use worldly methods to manipulate people into believing but we stick with the simply message of good news.
Who is Christ sending you to?