Summary: Why did Jesus send out his apostles in pairs? Why is this a good thing for us to do today? Watch video: https://youtu.be/ISE_w3JJARY
Scripture Reading: Mark 6:7-13
Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
Jesus sent his apostles out in pairs — two by two. Why? Because as a wise man once said, "Two are better than one" (Ecclesiastes 4:9). Two men working together will work more efficiently and do more work than two men singly. But more than this, they can be of vital assistance to each other, especially spiritually. Working in the vineyard of God is arduous, even dangerous work that can lead workers to stumble. However, as the same wise man also said, "If either of them falls down, one can help the other up" (Ecclesiastes 4:10).
Another reason is presumably because Jesus wanted people to learn to work together. Not only did this avoid the risk of solo players getting inflated egos, but each person's skills or abilities could also compensate for what the other lacked. The early church took this advice seriously, and, with rare exception, none of the apostles worked alone. These days, with a scarcity of laborers in the harvest, there is the tendency to go out alone, but we may have been able to reap a far greater harvest if we had followed Jesus' method of sending people out in pairs.
Now, this advice is good, not only for the missionary but also for the believing Christian. Following Christ can also be a challenging task — the road that leads to life is, after all, narrow (see Matthew 7:14) — and having a like-minded spiritual brother or sister traveling with us can make the journey easier. They can serve as prayer partners, or people that one can hold oneself accountable to, or somebody to share one's struggles with — especially those struggles that hamper our spiritual growth.
And once we have grown in our faith to the point where we would like to share it with others, having a partner with us will help us gain the confidence to do so. Let us remember when we do this that the key message is one of repentance. And when we do that, we can expect the miracles to follow, as happened in the apostles' case. But as Jesus told them, when they returned home rejoicing after a successful mission. "Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20).
So, if you haven't got one, find yourself a partner today!
Today's devotional — Two By Two — is based on Mark 6:7-13, the gospel reading for the day. The reflection is by Aneel Aranha, founder of Holy Spirit Interactive (HSI). Follow him on Facebook: fb.com/aneelaranha