Twelve disciples - Our Lord seems to have had the twelve patriarchs, heads of the congregation of Israel, in view, in his choosing twelve disciples. That he had the plan of the ancient Jewish Church in his eye is sufficiently evident from Matthew 19:28; and from Luke 10:1; Luke 22:30; John 17:1, etc., and Revelation 21:12-14.
He gave them power against unclean spirits - The word κατα, against, which our translators have supplied in Italic, is found in many MSS. of good note, and in the principal versions. Here we find the first call to the Christian ministry, and the end proposed by the commission given. To call persons to the ministry belongs only to Him who can give them power to cast out unclean spirits. He whose ministry is not accompanied with healing to diseased souls, was never called of God. But let it be observed, that, though the spiritual gifts requisite for the ministry must be supplied by God himself, yet this does not preclude the importance of human learning. No man can have his mind too well cultivated, to whom a dispensation of the Gospel is committed. The influence of the Spirit of God was no more designed to render human learning useless, than that learning should be considered as superseding the necessity of Divine inspiration.
And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples - This account of sending the apostles forth is recorded also in Mark 6:7-11, and Luke 9:1-6. Mark says that he sent them out two and two. This was a kind arrangement, that each one might have a companion, and that thus they might visit more places and accomplish more labor than if they were all together. These twelve were the original number of apostles. The word “apostle” means one that is “sent,” and was given to them because they were “sent forth” to preach the gospel. They were ambassadors of Christ. To this number Matthias was afterward added, to supply the place of Judas Acts 1:26, and Paul was specially called to be an apostle to the Gentiles, Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 15:8-9; Galatians 1:1. In all, therefore, there were 14 apostles.
In selecting “twelve” at first, it is probable that the Saviour was somewhat guided by the number of the tribes of Israel. Twelve was, with them, a well-known number, and it was natural that he should select one for every tribe. Their office was clearly made known. They were to heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead, preach the gospel. They were to be with him to receive his instructions, to learn the nature of his religion, be witnesses to his resurrection, and then to bear his gospel around the globe. The number twelve was the best number for these purposes that could be selected. It was sufficiently “large” to answer the purpose of testimony, and it was “so small” as not to tend to disorder, or that they could easily be divided into parties or factions. They were not learned men, and could not be supposed to spread their religion by art or talents. They were not men of wealth, and could not bribe men to follow them. They were not men of rank and office, and could not compel people to believe. They were just such men as are always found the best witnesses in courts of justice - plain men, of good sense, of fair character, of great honesty, and with favorable opportunities of ascertaining the facts to which they bore witness. Such men everybody believes, and especially when they are willing to lay down their lives to prove their sincerity.
It was important that the Saviour should choose them early in his ministry, in order that they might be fully acquainted with him; might treasure up his instructions, and observe his manner of life and his person, so that, by having been long acquainted with him, they might be able to testify to his identity and be competent witnesses of his resurrection. No witnesses were ever so well qualified to give testimony as they, and none ever gave so much evidence of their sincerity as they did. See Acts 1:21-22.
When health reform was first brought to our notice, about thirty-five years ago, the light presented to me was contained in this scripture: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.” Isaiah 61:1-4. CH 530.1Read in context »
As the people on the plain caught sight of Jesus, they ran to meet Him, greeting Him with expressions of reverence and joy. Yet His quick eye discerned that they were in great perplexity. The disciples appeared troubled. A circumstance had just occurred that had caused them bitter disappointment and humiliation. DA 427.1
While they were waiting at the foot of the mountain, a father had brought to them his son, to be delivered from a dumb spirit that tormented him. Authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, had been conferred on the disciples when Jesus sent out the twelve to preach through Galilee. As they went forth strong in faith, the evil spirits had obeyed their word. Now in the name of Christ they commanded the torturing spirit to leave his victim; but the demon only mocked them by a fresh display of his power. The disciples, unable to account for their defeat, felt that they were bringing dishonor upon themselves and their Master. And in the crowd there were scribes who made the most of this opportunity to humiliate them. Pressing around the disciples, they plied them with questions, seeking to prove that they and their Master were deceivers. Here, the rabbis triumphantly declared, was an evil spirit that neither the disciples nor Christ Himself could conquer. The people were inclined to side with the scribes, and a feeling of contempt and scorn pervaded the crowd. DA 427.2
But suddenly the accusations ceased. Jesus and the three disciples were seen approaching, and with a quick revulsion of feeling the people turned to meet them. The night of communion with the heavenly glory had left its trace upon the Saviour and His companions. Upon their countenances was a light that awed the beholders. The scribes drew back in fear, while the people welcomed Jesus. DA 427.3Read in context »
The Lord's work is one, and His people are to be one. He has not directed that any one feature of the message should be carried on independently or become all-absorbing. In all His labors He united the medical missionary work with the ministry of the word. He sent out the twelve apostles, and afterward the seventy, to preach the gospel to the people, and He gave them power also to heal the sick and to cast out devils in His name. Thus should the Lord's messengers enter His work today. Today the message comes to us: “As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” John 20:21, 22. 6T 292.1
Satan will invent every possible scheme to separate those whom God is seeking to make one. But we must not be misled by his devices. If the medical missionary work is carried on as a part of the gospel, worldlings will see the good that is being done; they will be convicted of its genuineness and will give it their support. 6T 292.2Read in context »
Every human being, in body, soul, and spirit, is the property of God. Christ died to redeem all. Nothing can be more offensive to God than for men, through religious bigotry, to bring suffering upon those who are the purchase of the Saviour's blood. DA 488.1
“And He arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto Him again; and, as He was wont, He taught them again.” Mark 10:1. DA 488.2
A considerable part of the closing months of Christ's ministry was spent in Perea, the province on “the farther side of Jordan” from Judea. Here the multitude thronged His steps, as in His early ministry in Galilee, and much of His former teaching was repeated. DA 488.3Read in context »
The apostles were members of the family of Jesus, and they had accompanied Him as He traveled on foot through Galilee. They had shared with Him the toils and hardships that overtook them. They had listened to His discourses, they had walked and talked with the Son of God, and from His daily instruction they had learned how to work for the elevation of humanity. As Jesus ministered to the vast multitudes that gathered about Him, His disciples were in attendance, eager to do His bidding and to lighten His labor. They assisted in arranging the people, bringing the afflicted ones to the Saviour, and promoting the comfort of all. They watched for interested hearers, explained the Scriptures to them, and in various ways worked for their spiritual benefit. They taught what they had learned of Jesus, and were every day obtaining a rich experience. But they needed also an experience in laboring alone. They were still in need of much instruction, great patience and tenderness. Now, while He was personally with them, to point out their errors, and counsel and correct them, the Saviour sent them forth as His representatives. DA 349.1Read in context »