And they went two by two: Not Noah and the Ark – The Apostles silly!
Jesus told the twelve Apostles to go out two by two and proclaim the Gospel of the Lord. How far did they go? How long did it take them? Did they do this until they died? Did they do it for a few years until they got tired? They were to heal the sick, cast out evil spirits, and proclaim the gospel. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but I imagine that would have been a daunting task in those days. Cities were many miles apart, there were no paved roads, no mass transportation, and they were not even allowed to ride a camel per Jesus’s instructions.
We should consider these as our instruction as modern day Christians. We should be proclaiming the gospel of the Lord to everyone we meet, in every situation, and every day. We can heal the sick by helping the homeless and the poor with nutrition and food, we can cast out evil spirits by teaching people about Jesus and the love of our God. Not just on Sundays, but every day of the week; every place we go; and in every situation in which we find ourselves.
Jesus also told the apostles that if any place would not accept them to leave and shake the dust of that place off their feet. By this I believe he meant that only so much can be done in some situations. If someone does not want to listen to what you have to say then move on to the next. Not everyone is going to be open and accepting as we see in our world today in so many other areas such as equal rights and marriage equality. Do the best you can; if they won’t listen or don’t seem open then leave them and go where you are accepted and welcomed. I am sure the apostles were not welcomed with open arms everywhere they went. I highly suspect that they were even run out of some areas before they were even able to speak simply because of who they were. We run into that type of discrimination in our lives every day also. So what do we do when we encounter this type of rejection? We pray for those who are not willing to listen that the Lord will open their hearts and minds. We pray that the Lord will open their ears that they may hear the good news of salvation available to those who believe. I am sure that is how the Apostles handled the rejection they must have faced.
Jesus told the Apostles “You may take along a walking stick, but carry no food or money.” Because Jesus knew that the believers would take care of the Apostle’s needs as they traveled proclaiming the Gospel of the Lord, just as we should be taking care of our brothers and sisters that do this same work in this day and age. Jesus knew that his Apostles’ needs would be met and none of them would suffer while on their journey. Jesus said “When you are welcomed into a home, stay there until you leave that town,”meaning that the Apostles should stay and preach until they felt they had accomplished all they could in that town. Not to just preach one sermon, but stay and listen to and answer questions, minister to the people of that town until the Apostles felt that they had reached every person who was willing to listen, and wanted to hear what they had to say.
Mark tells us that the Apostles healed many sick people and cast out many demons on their journeys. We still don’t know for certain how long it took them, how far they went, or how many people they had contact with. All we have is Church Tradition to fall back on, but I believe they carried out Jesus’s instructions well into their old age or even until their deaths, without ceasing and without fail. As modern day Christians we should pattern our lives in the same way: go and preach the Gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. For if we do the Lord will see to it that our spiritual and physical needs will be met. Go on and be a modern day Apostle.