Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil 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 tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.” (Mark 6:7-11)
There is a great principle contained in Jesus’ instructions to the apostles, but let me first take a moment to give us some perspective.
I have heard people criticize some of the modern creature comforts servants of the Lord use today to carry out their mission. After all, the first apostles didn’t have airplanes, automobiles, hotels and credit cards. They didn’t set up big stages as they traveled through towns and rock neighborhoods with multi-million dollar sound and light shows. And they didn’t eat at expensive restaurants or wear nice clothes.
When we consider these kinds of contrasts we must remember these things were non-existent in the first century. Therefore, we have no way of knowing whether or not the first disciples would have used them. The communities the disciples ministered in could be reached on foot. And the culture was such people would welcome them into their homes and offer them food and drink.
It is also important to remember the apostles had supernatural gifts that had been given to them by Jesus for their work. This doesn’t mean they didn’t get hungry like everyone else, but it did give them an advantage over threats they might encounter.
So it isn’t the same thing, in some respects.
But it is in other ways. Today, the Lord’s people must still go in His name, dependent on His provision. They should challenge others with the message of the cross, and not be afraid to stand by their conviction that Jesus is the hope of the world.
I am not sure “shaking the dust off of our feet” would have the same meaning in our culture as it did in first-century Palestine, but if we are not thoroughly convinced people need Jesus when we go, we might as well not go.
I will leave it up to you to determine which methods of evangelism the apostles might have employed had they had access to modern conveniences. But this one thing remains: Unless we look to God for our success, and make the cross the central theme of our message, not much is going to happen…at least not much that matters eternally.
Of course, most of us aren’t going out “two-by-two” from town to town. Most of us are doing our best to share Christ on a daily basis among the people we come into contact with at work, home and play. But our prayer can still be for God to give us what we need and help us stay focused on the cross. If we keep this focus, I believe He is going to bless our efforts.
Dear God, send me in Your name and by Your power. In Jesus’ name, Amen.