Mark 6:7-13 reads, “7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; 8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: 9 But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. 10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. 12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
I. The Sending Forth of the Disciples
A. (6:7-13) Introduction.
1. Every man has to be equipped before He goes forth, no matter the project or endeavor.
2. To a great degree success depends upon how well equipped a man is.
3. This is certainly true of men in the business world. It is also true of God's servants and disciples.
4. They must be equipped by God as they go forth to carry on their ministry for the Lord.
B. (6:7) Christ equipped the disciples. He did not send them out unprepared and unequipped.
1. Christ called His disciples "unto Him" (Mark 3:13; Mark 6:7).
2. He called them "that they should be with Him, that He might [later] send them forth to preach"
3. This was the very method Christ used to equip His disciples: the method of attachment or the method of discipleship.
a. You cannot learn to be a disciple; Christ must make you one.
b. By attaching himself unto you and you submitting unto Him, you are made his disciple.
c. This is something that cannot be learned.
4. Christ simply called men to be with Him: to walk and associate with Him, to follow and live in His presence.
5. By being "with Him" they would see how He walked with God and ministered to people.
6. They would begin to absorb and assimilate His very character and behavior.
7. They would begin to be like Him, and in becoming like Him, they would begin to follow Him and to serve Him more and more.
C. Christ sent His disciples forth two by two. There are at least two reasons for doing this.
1. Every word was to be established (confirmed, upheld) in the mouth of two witnesses (Matthew 18:16).
a. The two would provide company for each other and be able to more easily face trials together. They could encourage, support, and strengthen each other.
2. Christ gave His disciples great power.
a. Note that power over unclean spirits is all that is mentioned (cp. Mark 3:15).
b. However, the power "to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease" and "to preach the kingdom of God" was also given (cp. Matthew 10:1; Luke 9:1-2).
3. “gave them power over unclean spirits”
a. Christ did not give them power; actually, he gave them authority.
b. This was before the coming of the Holy Spirit, so all the work they did was through his authority.
c. The unclean spirits could be translated unclean spirits, or the spirits of uncleanness.
d. Refers to particularly to the Baliim, but also includes all others.
4. The giving of this authority was not permanent though; it continually flowed from Christ to them.
a. The imperfect tense indicates something not complete, but needs to continue.
(1) This implies very well that the authority could well be lost by disobedience, sin, stubbily, ignorance, or even doubt.
b. The non use of the aorist is also striking to say the least.
(1) The aorist may implied that the authority was given permanently, but it was not, nor could the aorist mean this here.
(2) Or that the authority was only given one time in a limited manner. Again, this is not implied either.
(3) The authority was based upon the authority of Christ, which came from, at this time, from the authority of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit.
(4) I see no limit here.
5. Why then does Mark concentrate only on the power over evil spirits? The reason seems to be:
a. Mark as a Jew is writing to the Gentiles, a people...
(1) who did not glorify God as God.
(2) who were not thankful to God.
(3) who had become vain in their imaginations.
(4) who had hearts that were foolish and darkened.
(5) who professed themselves to be wise, but were fools.
(6) who changed the glory of God into images such as corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
(7) who were unclean through the lusts of their own hearts.
(8) who dishonored their own bodies between themselves.
(9) who changed the truth of God into a lie.
(10) who worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.
(11) who were given over to vile affections.
(12) whose women changed the natural use into that which is against nature.
(13) whose men left the natural use of the woman, and burned in their lust one toward another.
(14) who did not like to retain God in their knowledge.
(15) who had reprobate minds.
(16) who did those things that are degrading and immoral (cp. Romans 1:21-28).
6. Very simply and clearly stated, Mark was writing to a people filled with all kinds of evil, a people who were subject to being controlled by all kinds of evil spirits.
a. Gentile society needed to be aware of the unclean spirits among them and their need to be cleansed of such uncleanness and evil.
b. All the gentiles, except the those who accepted Judaism and hence became proselytes, at least Daemonic influenced, but most, if not all, were demon possessed.
c. It is impossible to be connected to idolatry, and especially that of the cult of the Baliim and the Cult of Venus without being demon possessed.
(1) "Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful" (Romans 1:29-31).
7. Mark focuses upon the central purpose of Christ: to conquer the spirit of evil and to destroy the works of the devil, especially in the hearts and lives of men.
8. I remember over my reading that the Greeks and the Romans had exorcists to deal with their gods, but the exorcists did not have the power to drive them out of the persons. They tried through various means to limit their damage to the persons whom they possessed.
a. Satan cannot cast out Satan
9. In truth, the Greeks and Romans did not want their gods out of the persons, but just wanted to keep them under somewhat control so that the victims of possession would not die.
a. "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out" (John 12:31).
b. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:15).
c. "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8).
D. (6:8-13) Christ instructed the disciples. He gave them particular instructions.
1. The disciples were to live in utter simplicity and humility (Mark 6:8-9). Christ spelled out exactly what He meant by this.
2. They were to take a staff only, that is, a walking staff.
3. They were to take no scrip or wallet, no bread, and no money in their purse.
4. They were to wear sandals for protection and coolness and comfort of the feet.
5. They were not to wear two coats, for this would display extravagant and wasteful living.
6. The whole idea is that the servant of God is to live simply and humbly just as ordinary folk live.
a. The servant was not to be extravagant and flamboyant, worldly and materialistic-minded, indulgent and fleshy.
7. There are four critical reasons for this instruction.
a. The Lord's servant is to "seek...and set his affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:1-2). He is to be heavenly minded, so that men will know there is a far better life and land than what this earth offers (cp. Hebrews 11:13-16, 24-26).
b. The Lord's servant is to have his mind centered on preaching the gospel and ministering to people, not on material things such as money, land, clothes, the best food, buying and selling, and accumulating.
c. The Lord's servant (as he labors and serves) is to demonstrate trust in God for his needs, so that others might learn to depend upon God (Matthew 6:24-34).
d. The Lord's servant is to teach and depend upon God's people to provide for him (cp. Matthew 10:9-10).
8. The disciples were to show stability and settledness (Mark 6:10).
a. When they entered a town and found a host, they were to remain with that host and not be moving about from place to place. They were not to seek more comfort and luxury as they came to know a place.
9. There are several good reasons for this instruction.
a. Favoring some hosts over others would indicate favoritism and cause jealousy.
b. Favoring some hosts over others would indicate a selfish, materialistic, and soft mind; and would lead to the questioning of the disciple's commitment.
c. Favoring some hosts over others would distract from the disciple's purpose and ministry.
d. Favoring some hosts over others would hurt and often alienate the first host and others in the congregation.
10. The disciples were to reject any who were not hospitable and receptive (Mark 6:11).
11. The disciples were to preach repentance (Mark 6:12).
12. The disciples were not to preach their own message or ideas, not what they thought or believed. They were heralds...
a. men who represented the King.
b. men who were given the message of the King.
c. men who were to proclaim the message of the King.
13. The message was that men should repent.
a. You cannot be a minister and not preach repentance.
b. No repentance, no message of the Gospel!
14. Men should change their lives from the way they were living.
a. "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).
b. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).
c. "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19).
15. The disciples were to minister to the evil-possessed and the sick (Mark 6:13).
a. Note they were to minister to both body and soul.
b. They were to liberate the soul from evil spirits, delivering those who were so clearly gripped by the bondage of sin and shame.
c. They were also to minister to those sick in body, those who were suffering and hurting.
16. If a minister does not have the power to drive out a demon or cast out a demon from the demon’s victim, then the minister is not a minister.
a. Whatever he is, he does not fit the conditions set here by the Gospel of Mark.
17. True ministers must:
a. Preach repentance.
b. Pray for the sick.
c. Cast out demons.
18. Various synoptic traditions report that he authorized them to preach, exorcise demons, and heal.
a. Three main things:
(1) Preach repentance.
(2) Cast out demons.
(3) Pray for the sick.
E. Note: they "anointed with oil many that were sick." This is the anointing spoken of in James.
1. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, of His presence and his power.
a. The oil helps the sick person to focus and concentrate upon the presence of the Holy Spirit and His power.
b. It is often difficult for a sick person to focus and concentrate.
c. This is especially true with those who are hurting and suffering, racked with excruciating pain.
d. It is also true of those with jerky and short attention spans. The oil—its presence and placement upon the body—helps the sick person focus and concentrate upon the Holy Spirit, His presence and power.
2. Oil is a symbol of God's care, comfort, and joy, of His mercy to us. It is the oil of gladness.
a. Therefore, oil actually focuses the attention and stirs the sick person to believe in God's mercy. The focused attention and stirred faith helps to fill the person's heart with gladness.