MARK 6:7



In this part of Mark chapter six Jesus is sending out the apostles to preach the gospel, and is giving the apostles specific instructions of how to conduct themselves when they do so. The Bible says in Mark 6:7-9, “And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: but be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.” These were short evangelistic trips. I do think that these instructions were given to the apostles for their specific situation, and that they are not for all of us to follow every day unless we are also going on short evangelistic trips too, but there are certain principles in what Jesus told the apostles that do apply to all of us in any situation.


Notice that before the apostles went out, two things had to happen. They had to be “called” by Jesus and they had to be “sent” by Jesus. Not just anyone can be a preacher of the gospel. Only those that are called can do it. It’s a calling, not an occupation. If you are called, then you give up your occupation in order to answer the call. The apostles were called, and they were sent. Once you are called by the Lord, you cannot go just anywhere. You must go when and where He sends you. He will give you an open door, and then you must be wise enough and obedient enough to go through the door. 


When Jesus sent the apostles, He sent them out “by two and two.” There is strength in numbers. Jesus did not mean for us to be alone. He meant for us to be team members, cooperating, and working together. We can do more as a team, each benefiting from the others’ gifts than we can ever do alone. We need each other. Believers in Christ are supposed to be able to work together, if they have been called by the Lord to a common work. Oh, the shame of the unspiritual divisions that have ripped through Christianity over the centuries! Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”


When the apostles went out, they went out to fight in the spiritual warfare. There is a battle of good against evil that rages in this world. There are forces of evil who are at work to corrupt and to destroy whomever they can. These forces of evil will always be opposed to the preaching of the gospel. Mark 6:7 says that Jesus “gave them power over the unclean spirits.” In this battle of good against evil, there is nothing to fear for believers, because we have been given power over the unclean spirits. Stay close to Jesus, answer His call, go where He wants you to go, and you also will have power over evil.  


Concerning practical instructions that Jesus gave to the apostles when they went out on these evangelistic missions, the Bible says in Mark 6:8-9 that Jesus “commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: but be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.” The principle is very clear: if you are going to be in the gospel ministry, you must concentrate on that work and set aside certain material things that might get in the way. Paul wrote in First Corinthians 9:25, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” Paul also wrote in First Corinthians 9:14, “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” If it is your goal in life to maximize your material possessions, then do not go into the gospel ministry. Or you can always get a secular job, and then do as much preaching as possible in your spare time.


Jesus had one more thing to say to the apostles concerning their gospel preaching journeys. The Bible says in Mark 6:10-11 “And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” Do you remember the parable of the sower? Only in one of four places where the seed was sown did it bear fruit. What that means is that if you walk close to the Lord, and if you are filled with the Spirit, and if you preach the gospel just exactly the way the Lord wants you to preach it, some people are not going to believe. Don’t’ let that discourage you. The thing to do is exactly what Jesus said to do: “shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.” In other words, if someone does not want the gospel, then go away from them and go on to the next person. Maybe the next person will be wise enough to receive the gospel and believe.


A terrible destiny awaits anyone who rejects the gospel that has been preached to them from one of God’s servants. Jesus made it clear what that destiny would be when he said, “Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” We know what Sodom and Gomorrah were all about: a materialistic society full of uncontrollable lusts. That’s where human selfishness always ends up: materialism and lust, and of course the warning that Jesus gives is that it will also end up at the judgment. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with fire and brimstone. What will the destiny be of those who are earning a judgment that is worse than that of Sodom and Gomorrah?


The Lord does not want anyone to have to face such a judgment, and so He sends out His servants to preach the gospel to the world, so that everyone in the world might hear and believe and be saved. The apostles certainly had the message correct that they were delivering. Mark 6:12 says, “And they went out, and preached that men should repent.” The need to repent is the most important message that can be preached. Everyone is a sinner. Without repentance, there is no remission from sin. Without repentance there is no salvation. Without repentance there is no possibility of knowing Jesus as Savior. If you have not repented, you are in a horrible situation spiritually. Repent, because the judgment is coming. Repent, because the day of the Lord draws near. Repent, because you are a sinner and your sins have separated you from God. Thank God that salvation is by grace through faith, but never forget that we come into contact with that grace only when we repent. God commands that all men everywhere should repent, and we who are God’s servants are workers with God to spread this commandment. Repent, so that you can be forgiven of your sins. Repent, while there is time. To repent means to change one’s mind. You are going in one direction in life, and then you change your mind: you come to Jesus and start following Him instead of going your own way. That is repentance.


The results that the apostles saw during this preaching tour is given in Mark 6:13 that says, “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” In what ways were the apostles different than preachers today? There must be some differences, otherwise they would not be called apostles. They simply would have been twelve preachers instead of twelve apostles. Two ways in which the apostles were different than preachers in our day are found in this verse. The fact that they were able to cast out devils and heal people in a similar way that Jesus Himself could was because they were apostles. Only the apostles could do such things because they were apostles. Evidently, Jesus wanted to establish the authority of these apostles, and so He gave them these unique gifts and powers. The power that preachers have today is based upon the Word of God. The power over demons and the power over sickness is always tied to the preaching of the Word of God. You are only doing God’s work with God’s power to the degree that your preaching is consistent with the truths of God’s Word. It is interesting that the apostles used olive oil. This was not a religious ceremony. Olive oil was used in ancient times as a medicine. Do what you can both medically and spiritually for someone who needs help. That is what the apostles did.   


One thing was obvious to everyone: the miracles that the apostles performed came directly from Jesus. The miracles that Jesus performed and that the apostles performed could not be refuted or questioned. Yes, He performed miracles. Everyone agreed to that. Now an even more important question had to be answered: from where did Jesus get the power to perform such miracles? How can such miracles be accounted for? Concerning some of the things that were said about who Jesus was, the Bible says in mark 6:14-15, “And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.” All of these ideas were wrong. It is not enough just to say that Jesus was a prophet. The members of the religion of Islam need to listen to this. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.


The reason that Herod thought that Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead was because of Herod’s own guilty conscience. In a despicable display of cowardice, Herod was responsible for the death of John the Baptist. The Bible says in mark 6:16-29, ”But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.” 


There sure are a lot of lessons that we can learn from John the Baptist and the circumstances that caused his death. We know that Jesus said that John the Baptist was the greatest human being ever born into this world. But look what happened to John. He was not rich or powerful in the way that the world measures success. John was rich in spiritual gifts, and John was powerful vis-à-vis God and the power of God. Most of the people who have the riches and the power of this world are not rightly related to God. For one thing, sometimes they acquired what they acquired by being extremely selfish and sinful. Such selfish people resist the will of God. Such selfish people do not want to hear the message of the gospel that commands them to turn from their sinful ways and turn to the Lord Jesus.


One of the things that made John the Baptist so great is that he did not compromise his message or change his message to please the hearers. He said what he knew to be true and then he let the chips fall where they would. Everyone must decide to either try to please God or to try to please man. You cannot please both God and man. The final straw that led Herod to committing this murder was the fact that the opinion of human beings about him was more important than the opinion of God. What a terrible judgment must have awaited Herod. Because of his own weakness of character and because of having the wrong priorities in his life, he murdered the one who Jesus said was the greatest human being ever to walk this earth. No wonder that Herod was troubled thereafter by a guilty conscience. Too bad that there is no record that Herod ever turned away from His great sins. As far as we know, he stayed under the guilt of his sins.


But you do not have to stay that way. Maybe you have not committed the same sins that Herod committed, but you have sinned. Today, if you will not harden your heart, you can turn from your sins and turn to Jesus. Don’t remain under a guilty conscience, alienated from Christ and from God. Turn from your sins today and you will find peace and forgiveness and a future in heaven that only Jesus can give.  



Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved