Mark 6:6b-13, 30-32

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds – April 26, 2012)

 

             In our study last week we saw in Mark 6:1-6 Jesus being rejected by the people of His hometown of Nazareth.  After that rejection, He began to expand His ministry into an ever widening area of Galilee and ultimately outside of Galilee.  The events described in the paragraph beginning with Mark 6:7 give us the prelude to this expansion of Jesus’ ministry.  In this session we are going to focus the account of Jesus sending out the twelve disciples on their first preaching mission. [Show golf GPS watch … small but tremendous potential for information…]

            The Scripture makes it clear that God has built into each of us tremendous potential.  In the creation story we are told that God made us “in His own image.” [Genesis 1:27].  Psalm 8:5 tells us that we have been made “…a little lower than God…” and that God has crowned us with “…glory and majesty.”  Every person is a person a dignity and value and worth.  God has placed within each of us tremendous potential.  Nowhere can that be seen more clearly that in the lives of those twelve men Jesus chose to be His first disciples.  Earlier in this study, when we were going through Mark 3, we looked at each of their lives in some depth.  By all accounts they were just ordinary, everyday people.  There was nothing about them that would have caused them to stand out from any number of other people in their world.  But not many years later, they were accused by people in Thessalonica, nearly 1000 miles from their homeland, of turning the world upside down with their teachings about Jesus!

            And the incredible thing about that, is that we have within us that same potential for advancing the Kingdom of God!  In the account of Jesus sending out the twelve in Mark 6:7-13, 30-32, are six principles which, if we follow them, will help us loose that potential.  I want to just quickly list them for you.  Here is what we must do to unlock the Kingdom potential God has placed within each of us.

 

I.  Remember whose we are (Not who, but whose!)

1.   Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m trying to discover who I am?”  I suppose for someone who is 18 or 19 years old and just coming into adulthood, that’s not such a negative thing to say.  But for someone who is an adult, that is a very sad statement.  And tragically, many people go through life without ever discovering who they are.  And I think I know why.  My observation is that we will never know who we are until know whose we are.

2.   Notice what verse 7 says about identity of the disciples.  They were people who were "summoned" by Jesus and "sent out" (apostello) by Jesus.  They were called out of the world and sent back into the world...

3.   Gives strong clue about our identity as Christians.  We are called by Jesus to be His representatives in our world.  Mo matter what our vocation or what our stage in life, our primary task as a believer in Jesus Christ is to be His ambassadors in the world.  And if keep that single task before us, if make it our primary focus, we are much more likely to realize our spiritual potential.

4.   One of great heresies of modern Christianity is belief that some Christians are called to ministry and others are not.  We are all called to ministry.  That is basic task of all our lives.  We just do ministry in different settings and different ways.  Remembering to whom we belong and what He's called us to do is the starting point of unlocking the amazing potential God has placed in each of us.

 

II.  Treat all people with dignity and respect

1.   In the Jewish rabbinic law, it was required that person take off his shoes, money belt, and lay down his staff before entering Temple courts.  All ordinary things were to be set aside before entering Holy Place.  On the Temple Mount in Israel you will experience that firsthand if you want to enter the Dome of the Rock.  Before a person enters that building he must remove his shoes and leave all belongings outside.

2.   In telling the disciples in verse 8 to take nothing for their journey except was absolutely necessary, Jesus may have been thinking of humble homes in which disciples would stay.  He could have been saying these homes just as sacred as Temple Courts.  Don't clutter them with unnecessary items.  Treat them and their owners with the same respect you with which would treat the Temple.  Also, verse 10 has to do with the treatment of people.  Whenever the disciples entered a house as invited guests, they were to stay there making it their base of operations until they left the town. They were not to impose on the hospitality of many people or accept more attractive offers once they were settled.[1]

3.   There is an abiding principle in that for how Christians should relate to people.  It is amazing how much more we can get accomplish for the Kingdom by treating people with kindness, compassion, patience, understanding, and gentleness.  While we are to have a clear, sharp message, we are to present it with grace.  I think that is something of what Jesus meant we He instructed us to be to be “…wise as serpents but gentle as doves…” in Matthew’s account of this event.

 

III.  Depend on God for provisions and strength

1.   That's probably the main idea behind the instruction to take "no bread, no bag, no money in their belt" in verse 8.  The word for "bag" in that phrase is the one used to describe the begging bag of itinerant preachers in first century world.  He was reminding them not to get bogged down worrying about money.  That would only serve to distract them from their mission.

2.   One of Satan’s most effective tactics in hindering the expansion of God’s Kingdom is to get Christians to subtly and gradually change their focus from mission to money.  In a book about the famous Catholic scholar Thomas Aquinas, C.K. Chesterton tells of conversation which took place between the Pope and a Spanish friar named Dominic Guzman in 13th century.  Pointing to gorgeous Papal Palace and referring to incident in Acts 3 where Peter told lame man "Silver and gold have I none, but what I do have I will give you, take up your bed and walk" the Pope said to Dominic Guzman, "Peter can no longer say, 'Silver and gold have I none." And according to the story Dominic Guzman quietly said to the Pope, "No, and neither can he now say, 'Rise and walk.'"

3.   If our focus is more on material things and our capacity provide for ourselves than it is on God's provision and strength, we will have no real spiritual power.  Instead we will end up spending an inordinate amount of time and energy absorbed by the trivial.

4.   Also, along the same lines, they were not to be overly concerned about visible results.  That’s the basic thrust of the statement in verse 10 about shaking the dust from their feet at any place that rejects their message. This Jewish custom essentially communicated that they had done their duty and the result was up to God.

IV.  Focus on the primary message God has given us

1.   There were many things the disciples could have preached about as they went on their mission...evil of 1st century slavery ...corruptness of the Roman gov't...how leaders of Israel had strayed away from foundations laid by forefathers...but notice in verse 12 what they preached..."And they went out and preached that men should repent..."

2.   What an important lesson there is in that...we have entrusted to us most important word in all the world...it is the gospel/good news...it's the message that God made us and loves us...we have strayed from God by being disobedient...God did not stop loving, but instead sent Son die on cross for our sins...if turn from sins and to Him we find life abundant and life eternal...

3.   And that is the word God has given us to proclaim with our words, our lives, and our witness to the world…instead of spending time and energy endorsing or opposing political candidates or appointees and instead of wasting precious resources fighting or supporting the passage of certain laws which will, at best, impact our land temporarily and superficially, we should be about the business of proclaiming the message God has given us --the message of repentance-- which will change people from the inside out and which will in turn change our society...

 

V.  Remember that we are accountable to God

1.   When disciples returned from their mission, verse 30 says "...they reported to Him all that they had done and taught." ...has tone of formal time of accounting...was time to stand before the Master and give account of what they had done...

2.   Nothing like a little accountability to keep person from getting bogged down in the trivial...when in high school worked for my dad's company...would give me task to do and then leave me alone to do it...but knew he would return and check on my work, and that knowledge was enough to keep me focused on the task, even in his absence...

3.   Way is with us and God...day will come when stand before Him and give account of our lives...not judged whether saved or lost...already settled...(just like was never question about whether still my father's son)...but will be judged according how faithful we've been with task given to us...should motivate us stay focused and fulfill the potential God has given us...

 

VI.  Know when to stop and rest

1.   In verse 31 Jesus advised the disciples to "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while."...one of interesting things about ministry of Jesus is that He knew when to work and He knew when to rest...after a period of intensive ministry He told the disciples the time for rest had come...and even though all the needs of the people were not met (Mark tells us in verse 31 that many people were pressing on them seeking help), they withdrew to be renewed...

2.   Some people in our world are too good at this...they stop to rest before they've worked hard enough to get tired!...but for others knowing when to stop, relax, and let our batteries recharge is one of most difficult things to learn...in the long run we will be more productive for the Kingdom as a result of such times...

CONCLUSION

As the end of his life approached, the Apostle Paul was able to look back over his life, and in spite of the terrible mistakes He had made in persecuting Christians and opposing the growth of God’s Kingdom, was able to say:  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith…”  And he could say that because he lived by the principles Jesus gave us in this passage.  If you want to be an effective Kingdom person then here’s what you do:

·         Remember to whom we belong; we are called and commissioned by Jesus...

·         Treat all people with dignity and respect...

·         Depend God for provision and strength...

·         Focus on the primary message God has given us...

·         Remember we are accountable to God...

·         Know when to stop and rest...



[1] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Mk 6:10–11). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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