Jesus taught in all the neighboring villages. Then he called together his twelve apostles and sent them out two by two with power over evil spirits. He told them, “You may take along a walking stick. But don’t carry food or a traveling bag or any money. It’s all right to wear sandals, but don’t take along a change of clothes. When you are welcomed into a home, stay there until you leave that town. If any place won’t welcome you or listen to your message, leave and shake the dust from your feet as a warning to them.”
The apostles left and started telling everyone to turn to God. They forced out many demons and healed a lot of sick people by putting olive oil on them.
Jesus became so well-known that Herod the ruler heard about him. Some people thought he was John the Baptist, who had come back to life with the power to work miracles. Others thought he was Elijah or some other prophet who had lived long ago. But when Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “This must be John! I had his head cut off, and now he has come back to life.” (Mark 6:6–16)
We can have anything we want, when what we want is God’s will. Jesus spent most of his time preaching and teaching in the region around the Sea of Galilee, in northern Israel. He sent his apostles out to increase the impact of his teaching. An apostle—or ambassador—does not speak for himself. The ambassador of a nation, for instance, is a stand-in for the government who sent him. He has the same authority as the government. Thus, Jesus’ twelve apostles had the same power over disease and over the evil spirits that Jesus himself did. When they spoke, they were speaking “in Jesus name,” not by invoking the phrase as if it were an incantation, but simply as an ambassador does by nature of being an ambassador. When Jesus’ ambassadors shook the dust from their feet, it was not a judgment, but rather a warning of possible judgment to come, if no repentance was forthcoming.
Just as an ambassador is not about his will, so we are not about our will, but the will of Jesus who has called us by his name. When we act as his ambassadors, we have the same authority, the same power, as Jesus himself—because we are concerned with his will rather than our own and can say “not my will, but your will be done.”