And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts— but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics. Also He said to them, “In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.(Mark 6:7-13)
Jesus Cannot Do It All
The ministry of Jesus was an exhausting and grueling three years of teaching, healing, walking, teaching, healing, teaching and once in a while time alone for Himself and the Father. He was constantly going from city to city with multitudes in the thousands following Him. Many came seeking Jesus to hear His teachings or to receive the miracle of healing from His hand. There was so much work to be done in such a short time. Jesus knew His time was limited. He began early to develop the men who would take the work of the gospel to the whole world. Imagine trying to find qualified men to take the leadership role of spreading a message that would encircle the world (literally) and last for thousands of years without fail. Twelve men were selected among so many other qualified disciples. These were not the leaders of the day or educated elite of the people. Common men who knew the value of hard work (fishermen), a man of education (tax collector) and a spirited individual who brought the power of a zealous heart to the group (a Zealot). Little is known of the others but Thomas would prove to be one of the strongest of the twelve with a deep faith and love for the Lord. The background of Judas is not known but he turned against His Lord and suffered greatly because of it.
Jesus also sent out seventy men to preach the gospel. John the Baptist prepared the way. The Twelve were sent out to preach and heal the sick. Jesus was one man and could not do all the work that needed to be done. He also knew the plan of the Father was for Him to die on a cross and to rise from the dead. After the resurrection His time was more limited as He only spent forty days with the eleven grooming them for the work that was before Him. The day came when Jesus returned to the Father and would remain until the end of time. It was that time after the ascension of Jesus that is critical to the completion of the work of God. The eleven fulfilled the work of God by going to Jerusalem, choosing the twelfth apostle and opening the doors of a new covenant on the Day of Pentecost. These twelve men began to preach the gospel in Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth. Others were drawn to the work of teaching and preaching. When persecution came, more men and women took a stand of preaching scattering throughout the land to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Paul, Barnabas, John Mark, Timothy, Luke and Silas all became instruments of preaching the word of God to Jews and Gentiles alike.
Jesus is the Son of God but He cannot do all that needs to be done. He could have remained on the earth and through the power of the Holy Spirit spread the gospel to all lands throughout every century. But that was not the plan of the Father. It was left to men to spread the news of salvation. Jesus sent out the twelve so that men could teach men. This accomplished two things: men would learn from men and those who taught would have a deeper knowledge of God’s word. The same is true today. Like the song that says, “Christ has no hands but our hands; to do His work today” we are the agents of the gospel to take the message of hope to a lost and dying world. If we are not doing it – who will? Jesus will not come to earth and preach for us. He has left that responsibility to us. We are the ones selected by Christ to tell our neighbors, coworkers, friends and family. So often the reason many are lost is because those entrusted with teaching the gospel fail to fulfill their role. Our hearts must be like the seventy that returned and rejoiced because of the power of God over Satan. Let us all be busy about sharing the good news.