Luke 9:1-9: The Sending of the 12 Apostles
We are about half way through Christ’s 3 ½ year earthly ministry. We are in the final stretch of what is known as Christ’s Galilean ministry before He sets His sights on His cross-work in Jerusalem. 9:51 is a turning point in His ministry, ‘When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.’ We are still in the middle of a key section that is putting on display the identity of Christ. We have seen by His miracles that He is the one with authority over nature, demons, sickness and death, but still to come is Peter’s confession, 18-20; Jesus foretelling that He must die and be resurrected, v21-22; and the transfiguration, before this turning point in His ministry comes. But not only are we seeing who Jesus is we are also witnessing the training of the apostles. We have seen them called to be disciples, then called to be apostles, they have been travelling around with Jesus sitting at His feet being taught by Him, and have been able to witness His power, His compassion, and His general way of ministering. They have been taught what to believe but also had their faith refined through things like having to trust in Jesus in the storm. We enter now into a new phase, the next phase in their training. They have come to the end of their learning stage and are now going to go out on their own getting more experience for future ministry. Their training coincides with God’s plan for the nation of Israel. We know that it was Paul’s method to preach to the Jews first and then the Gentiles, the apostles are God’s plan for spreading the message of the Messiah throughout Israel. If they reject Christ, then judgement will come, this preaching tour will be one of the means by which God will announce His judgement on an unbelieving Israel.
We will look at 9:1-9 under three headings, the commissioning of the 12 looking at v1-2; the provisions of the 12, v3-4, and the response to the 12, v5-9. As we go through this section we will see that there are some things unique to the 12 which are limited to this time as God is doing something unique through them in Israel, but we will also see things that are relevant for ourselves.