Yeshua charged His disciples to go out to the villages of Galilee, Judea, and Perea, proclaiming the message, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The time had come for the Twelve disciples to take His message and ministry out on their own.
Though Yeshua had many disciples, He chose only twelve to invest with His authority over spirits, sickness, and death. The Bible never assumes that all disciples of Yeshua will equally wield the same power and authority as the Twelve. Although every disciple has the potential to become an agent of miracles on that same scale and greater, not every disciple has the same level of authority with which Yeshua invested the Twelve. Not everyone has been commanded to raise the dead and heal lepers.
And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. (Matthew 10:7-8)
Yeshua sent them out in pairs (Mark 6:7). The sages often paired their disciples for various purposes. They placed two disciples together for study purposes on the principle of iron sharpening iron. When dispatching their disciples on errands and missions, they almost always sent them out by twos. The policy not only made good practical sense, it had a legal purpose: “On the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed” (Deuteronomy 19:15). The apostolic community continued the practice by dispatching pairs of apostles for ministry.
Yeshua “sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing” (Luke 9:2). He told them to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, and drive out demons. As they went, they were to proclaim the good news: “The Messianic Era is about to begin!” This was the same gospel message that John the Immerser had preached as he urged the generation to repent and enter the kingdom. This was the same gospel message that Yeshua had been preaching since the time of John’s arrest.
The miracles and miraculous authority invested into the twelve validated the message by proving that the power of the kingdom was present with them. In the Messianic Era, sickness and disease will be subdued, the dead will be raised, and Satan and his evil servants will be bound in chains. As the Twelve went out with the message of the gospel, they gave people a foretaste of the coming kingdom in the form of miracles, healings, exorcisms, and even resurrections. The miracles functioned as signs, indicating that the Messianic Era was just around the corner.
This article originally appeared on First Fruits of Zion and reposted with permission.