7 And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits… 12 They went out and preached that men should repent. 13 And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them. Mark 6:7-13
Perhaps now that Jesus could not use his native city of Nazareth as his home base, he chose to divide and conquer to reach the surrounding cities (Mark 6:6b). In the business world, he was delegating.
But we all know the decision to send out his disciples two by two wasn’t to be more effective. The Lord didn’t need to rely on a shrewd strategy to proclaim the gospel. This was for their benefit and ours!
It’s first of all interesting that he stripped them of anything to make the charge easier or more comfortable. The Boy Scouts in the group must have convulsed at the notion of leaving behind their backpacks! It’s interesting that they were allowed only a staff, one tunic and sandals. The bare necessities.
They’d be doing the same kinds of things Jesus was doing, calling people to repentance, healing the sick, and casting out evil spirits (with his authority). I find it interesting that the disciples used oil in their healing, perhaps to have power emanate from it rather than their own hands.
They were also given a protocol to follow if and when rejected. It’s helpful to remember that there are consequences for unbelief. There are no mulligans when you reject God, or so it appears. Perhaps though some would reconsider in the face of that rejection, who knows.
Bottomline, he wants us totally dependent on him for the message and power to act. The results are subject to God’s sovereign will, but we pray that our efforts are fruitful.
He also wanted his men to sense the joy of seeing the people repent, to experience his provisions at the hands of gracious hosts, and to feel the sting of rejection.
All this would come in handy in the fateful days ahead.