Instructions for the Twelve: Mark 6:7-12

J.Tissot, Brooklyn Museum

Rejected at Nazareth, Jesus “ went around to the villages in the vicinity teaching.” The Sower doesn’t cease to sow, even when the seed falls on hard ground. Neither should we.

Not only does Jesus continue his ministry after Nazareth, but he renews his call to others to join him, our reading today says. (Mark 6, 7-12)

“He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two.” We shouldn’t think he only spoke to a few choice companions.  Mark includes all his followers with the Twelve; Jesus’ simple summary of instructions is meant for us too. 

Jesus sends the Twelve out “two by two.” How go out “two by two?” We’re meant to have companions in life, in faith and in ministry. As Jesus began his ministry he looked for companions – Peter and Andrew, James and John. (Mark 1: 16-20) and sent them out together. We’re not to be Lone Rangers.

Some say Jesus was like the cynic philosophers of his day, a strong individual holding his own, challenging the norms of his time. Many admire that type today.

But Jesus was not like that, nor does he teach his followers to be like that. 

Like him, they’re to be involved in the world they live in. They’re to come together as a church, a community. 

Like him, his followers are meant to drive out the world’s demons and cure its illnesses. God is their guide and gives food for their journey. God shows the way, providing food, money, the resources they need.

Like Jesus, his followers know the rejection of Nazareth, but “shake the dust from your feet” – they’re meant for other towns.

That’s what Jesus did. That’s what we’re to do. 

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