Good morning everyone, our topic today is "…Jesus teaching his disciples…" I believe this was one of the biggest challenges that Jesus faced.
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus had the problem of how his message would be taken to the world in such a short timeframe of approximately 3½ years. Although a popular person, he could only cover small ground, and when you take into consideration that in Jesus’ day, there was no printed books, newspapers, internet or television coverage, the only option Jesus has, is to cement his message in people.
The stakes are high – for if Jesus fails in his disciple making, his teachings and his work would soon be forgotten, and his mission would be a failure.
Mankind would never have the chance of being made right with God if he failed.
You would think that Jesus would have looked for the Bill Gate’s, the Socrates, the William Shakespeare’s, or the David Copperfield’s – people with money, brains and talent.
However, Jesus chose to invest his message and ministry to twelve ordinary people – mostly fishermen.
They were twelve ordinary men who were to change the world.
And almost 2,000 years later, the name of Jesus has not been forgotten or lost – his message and his ministry still goes on.
Lets turn to Mark 6 and once again, look at how it all happened.
But as we look at the disciples, lets remember that they have long been gone, and now its up Jesus’ followers of today (that’s you and me) to continue spreading his message. So this isn’t a history lesson, and I’m certainly not up here to entertain you. Rather, this is an important message for you today.
Our passage this morning begins shortly after Jesus is rejected by the people in his home town Nazareth. Not only had Jesus been rejected in his home town, but as we saw last week in Mark 3, he has also been rejected by the nation’s leaders, because they attributed his miracles to him being demon possessed. "… He is possessed by Beelzebub…" they said, "…By the prince of demons he is driving out demons…"
There is a change of direction in Jesus ministry from this point. From here on we observe:
* Jesus performing miracles for the individual rather than the general public, although the public will often benefit as a result.
* Faith will now the basis Jesus heals people. The statement "…your faith has made you well…" will be heard often from this point onwards.
* And we also observe Jesus beginning to speak in parables.
Despite being rejected by the nation’s leaders, the people had not fully rejected him. The phrase "…like sheep without a shepherd…" is mentioned occasionally (Mat 9:36, Mark 6:34), because it showed the people were indecisive. They didn’t know whether they should follow the old leaders or this new one.
So Jesus still has a ministry, and undeterred by his rejection in the synagogue, he goes about teaching from village to village.
And if we turn to Matthew 10 (which has a more detailed account), we will make some more observations about this mission:
Read Matt 10:5-10
Firstly, we see Jesus giving some Instructions for Mission…
In v5-6 of Matthew, Jesus imposes a
1. Territorial Limitation. Mat 10:5-6
2. Jesus specifically instructs the twelve to limit their ministry to Jews only.
This is a special mission for the disciples; to prepare them for their future ministry after Jesus’ ascension to heaven.
But what is said by Jesus at this moment, is intended for his disciples only, and should not be assumed to be applicable to everyone. Just because it is in the Bible, doesn’t mean it is for all people of all generations (although there are certainly lessons we can learn). In fact, in Luke 22:35-36 we see Jesus instructing Peter the opposite of what he is saying here.
After his death and resurrection, Jesus will give a new commissioning to his disciples, which will be for all present and future followers, and will have no territorial limitation. But for now, this mission will be specifically for them to their own people.
3. Jesus also gives instructions regarding the Nature of their work Mat 10:7, Mark 6:7,12
Their priority is to proclaim the message he has given them. This message is the same as when Jesus first started his ministry, which is recorded in Mark 1:14, where Jesus went about proclaiming – "…The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news…" So here, he instructs the disciples to do likewise.
He splits them into pairs, to go out to the surrounding towns. Whether this was for safety reasons, moral support, or to validate each others testimony, we can only speculate, but Jesus meets the latter by giving them authority to authenticate their message by performing miracles. Notice that key word authenticate – the miracles were only act as a back up to the message. The message was the priority.