Training

When He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.” (Matthew 10:1-11)

Nothing builds faith better than experience. So, Jesus sent his twelve disciples out into the region around the Sea of Galilee, to all the villages and towns in it, to proclaim that God’s kingdom was near. To demonstrate the truth of their words, Jesus gave them the ability to perform all the miracles that Jesus had been performing: they healed the sick, they cleansed the lepers, they raised the dead, and they cast out demons. None of the gospel writers give us any details about their activities, where precisely they went, or how many people were raised from the dead.

When they discovered they could raise the dead and heal the sick, did the disciples stop worrying about their rather precarious financial situation? Jesus hadn’t let them take any money or extra clothes. They were forced to be dependent upon God and those they served.

When one miracle happened, and then another, as they found their needs provided for at each step of the way, their confidence inevitably grew. Jesus was training his disciples for the time when he would be gone, when these men would be on their own with only the Spirit to guide them. We, as followers of Jesus today, have been sent out into the world with no less than those first twelve disciples.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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