Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy!
Jesus called us, his twelve disciples to him, and gave us the authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. Disciples are like apprentices, where the best could ideally carry on their teacher’s work.
He paired us up, commissioning us to take his message out. Simon and his brother Andrew were the first pairs. James son of Zebedee, and his brother John the second. Philip and Bartholomew were the third. Thomas and Matthew the tax collector the fourth pair. James son of Alphaeus and I were the fifth. Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot were last but not least.
Jesus met our eyes. Then began speaking: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
We were to stay in Galilee and spread his message. Simple enough.
“Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker, is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
We were to be completely dependent on Jewish hospitality. Even in other Mediterranean cultures hospitality is a virtue. Hopefully, we wouldn’t have to shake the dust off our feet. Especially with that warning, Sodom and Gomorrah were reduced to ash for rejecting God’s messengers. Not even ten good men could be found.
I was a bit nervous. James didn’t seem to be. We’ll see.