Chapter 16

Jesus of Galilee

 

INSTRUCTING HIS DISCIPLES

 

And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts (for the laborer is worthy of his keep), but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.

 

According to the Gospel of Mark, he permitted staff and sandals, but according to Matthew and Luke he did not allow them. Matthew also adds a directive not given by the others, showing the slant of his appeal to the Jews, as their Savior, the expected Messiah: "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' "

 

Jesus went on to say, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay.

 

"In whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. As you enter the house, salute it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you." By this he directed that they should not be brought low nor disturbed by the negation of others, but keep above all this, with peace in themselves; this they could share with anyone ready to accept it.

 

"And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, as you leave that house or town shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

 

"Behold, I send you out as sheep among wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to the councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

 

"Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father the child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

 

"When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes.

 

"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub," (as they have called Jesus), "how much more will they malign those of his household?"

 

"So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

 

"And are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven." (Some of these words he had spoken previously to the Pharisees.)

 

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household.

 

"He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and who loses his life for my sake will find it."

 

This does not mean necessarily one who passes through transition, leaving the physical body; it applies to everyone who gives up his old ways, thoughts and emotions for those of the Christ, who loses the man he was and becomes more.

 

"He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives Him that sent me. He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

 

"And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." The reward is in accordance with the reason and intention hidden within the act, on one hand, and with the reason for acceptance on the other.

 

And when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out demons and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.

 

On their return, the apostles came to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.

 

Then he took them and withdrew apart to the town of Bethsaida, where dwelt the families of the fishermen. When the crowds learned of this, they followed him; and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and cured those who had need of healing.

 

Later he told the disciples, "If a man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

 

"For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father, and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."

 

Not long after this, the Lord appointed seventy others (some say seventy-two), and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

 

"Go your way: behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals, and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be on this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house.

 

"Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' I tell you it shall be more tolerable on judgment day for Sodom than for that town.

 

"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon long ago, they would have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.

 

"You, Capernaum, will you be exalted in heaven? You shall be brought to Hades." In spite of his many great works performed in these towns, the people had in general not changed their hearts and ways. They would have to pay more than those of long ago, because being offered so much more, they were rejecting it still.

 

Then he added, "He who listens to you listens to me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects Him Who sent me." Thus he reiterated the method of keeping the channel clear, for the increasing numbers who would go forth to serve God.

 

The seventy went out and returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" And he commanded them, saying, "Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Do not become drunk with power, but be thankful that you are permitted to live for the Lord.)

 

In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them unto babes; yea, Father, for such was Thy gracious will.

 

All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son, and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him."

 

Then turning to the disciples he said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear and did not hear it."

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