Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 9:1 And He called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all the demons, and to heal diseases.
These verses of Jesus, from our focus verse through verse 6, recounts a new phase in Jesus’ ministry. Up to that time, His disciples watched Jesus minister to the people while helping Him where they could. Now, Jesus is involving them directly by sending them out to do the work they were being called to do. Now He was sending them out to permit them to participate with Him. He commissioned them to go out and do what He had been doing.
First, He “gave them power and authority over all the demons, and to heal diseases.” Luke 9:1b. Jesus gave them a share of His authority given Him by the Father, as well as the power to heal the sick and cast out demons. Without receiving this power, the mission would not be fulfillable, but he gives them what is required to do the work He taught them. This was not given them to build up themselves and their power and abilities, but to bring freedom and healing to those they would minister to. For their mission was to go out and preach and proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick and deliver those who have demons. The idea with the phrase ‘He Sent’ in verse 2 is clarified by the Greek word apostello, which means to send forth as a messenger. In essence, He was sending them out to reach out just as He was doing.
Then Jesus lets them know some rules He expects them to follow what He did, which will help them be fruitful in this task. First, they were told not to take anything for the journey. “And He said to them, take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. “ Luke 9:3. The Twelve were to travel without equipment or extra goods, such as clothing, money, food, etc. This may have been due to the brevity of their mission or to Jesus’ desire to have them avoid the appearance of preaching for profit. This was something no doubt done by many Jewish and cultic leaders. It may also have been in order to require them to trust in God alone to supply their needs. Paul put it like this, “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.
Then in verse 4, Jesus says “And whatever house you enter, stay there, and take your leave from there.” Luke 9:4. Those ministering in Jesus’ name should not use their ministry for personal gain and seek better housing if it becomes available later. The implications of this, while clear and forever applicable, is to not put down those of a lower state or puff up those of a higher state. Matthew puts it like this, “And into whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it; and abide there until you go away.” Matthew 10:11. John Wesley understood this as they should abide with him: who is disposed to receive the Gospel. Then abide in that house until you leave the town.
And then in the next verse, “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” Luke 9:5. Their job as preachers wasn’t primarily to change people’s minds. They were to persuasively present the message, but if their listeners didn’t receive it they could leave and shake the very dust from your feet as they left. If Jewish people of that time had to go in or through a Gentile city, as they left they often shook the dust off their feet as a gesture saying, We don’t want to take anything from this Gentile city with us. Essentially, Jesus told His disciples to regard a Jewish city that rejected their message as if it were a Gentile city.
Then they left and went out to do the Lord’s work. “And departing, they began going about among the villages, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere.” Luke 9:6. These twelve men went out and proclaimed the Kingdom of God, essentially that the Messiah is with them providing salvation for all who accept His words. Jesus was, in a way, helping them by allowing them to go out and do the work they would eventually do at the ascension of Jesus after His resurrection. And through the scriptures, we see how we are to spread the word of the Kingdom of God to the world as well. Just as the disciples of Jesus prepared the way for the word of God regarding Jesus, we are to do the same. Both with words and with deeds. Similarly, while we may get excited about visible miracles and demonstrations of supernatural power, the greatest miracle of all is the fact that unworthy sinners can become righteous children of God. When our focus moves to ourselves and how God is using us, we are headed the wrong direction. It is a good reminder that, since their names are unimportant, ours are as well. It is the name of Jesus Christ alone who deserves all attention and glory.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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