Mark 6:7 (AV)
And he called¹ unto him the twelve²,
and began³ to send⁴ them forth by two and two;
and gave them power⁵ over unclean⁶ spirits;
¹) To call to one’s self; to bid to come to one’s self.
²) The twelve apostles of Jesus.
³) To begin, to make a beginning.
⁴) To order (one) to go to a place appointed.
⁵) The power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege); The power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed).
⁶) Unclean in thought and life.
And He called to Him the Twelve [apostles] and began to send them out [as His ambassadors] two by two and gave them authority and power over the unclean spirits. [AMP] And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. [ESV] Jesus called the Twelve to him, and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority and power to deal with the evil opposition. [MSB] And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; [KJV] Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. [NIV] And he called his twelve disciples together and sent them out two by two, with authority to cast out evil spirits. [NLT] And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. [NKJV]
Some further information:
He called unto him the twelve.
For the commission of the twelve (compare Luke 9:1-6).
Matthew’s account is the fullest.
Send them forth
The disciples are prepared for that general apostleship by the training they received while following Him.
We read here about the commission given to the twelve apostles, to preach, and work miracles; it is the same which we saw more largely in Matthew 1).
Mark does not name them here, like Matthew does, because he had named them before, when they were first called into fellowship with him (Mark 3:16-19).
Till now they had been with the Christ, and had set at his feet, had heard his doctrine, and seen his miracles. But now He determines to make some use of them.
They had received, so they might give; they had learned, so they might teach. And therefore he now began to send them out.
They must not always be studying in the academy, to get knowledge, but they must preach in the country, to do good with the knowledge they have got. Though they were not as yet so well accomplished as they were to be, yet, according to their present ability and capacity, they must be set to work, and make further improvements afterward.
By two and two
Observe that the Christ sent them forth by two and two; Mark takes notice of this.
They went two and two to a place,
▪︎ for out of the mouth of two witnesses, every testimony is established;
▪︎ and also, that they might be company for one another when they were among strangers,
▪︎ that they might strengthen the hands, and encourage the hearts, of each other;
▪︎ that they might help each other if any thing should be amiss,
▪︎ and that they might keep each other in countenance.
Every common soldier has his comrade; and it is an approved maxim, Two are better than one. Christ would thus teach his ministers to associate, and both lend and borrow help.
Power over unclean spirits
Observe that Jesus gave them power over unclean spirits.
He commissioned them to attack the devil’s kingdom, and empowered them, to cast the demons out of the bodies, of those that were possessed.
Dr. Lightfoot suggests, that they cured diseases, and cast out devils, by the Spirit, but preached only that, which they had learned from the mouth of the Christ.
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With this verse a new part begins: the mission of the twelve (Mark 6:7-13).
So we read here that He called them (who they are, we know from Mark 3:16-19) (cf. Mark 3:13,23). His disciples were near Him at the time, but Jesus called them nearer to Him, to give them a special commission.
Although Mark makes no mention of this now, their task certainly included preaching (see Mark 6:11,12).
At the time, He had called and appointed them, with the purpose that they would later go out to preach (see Mark 3:14). Mark further tells us that Jesus proceeded to send out the twelve, two by two (cf. Mark 11:1; 14:13).
That ‘two by two’ is a fact that we only read in Mark (cf. Matthew 10:1ff.; Luke 9:1ff.). It reminds us of the calling of the first disciples, which also took place in pairs (Mark 1:14-20). Moreover, it reminds us of the later actions of the apostles. They also went out ‘two by two’.
▪︎ Peter and John (Acts 3:1ff),
▪︎ Paul and Barnabas (Acts 11:30; 12:24-13:12),
▪︎ and Paul and Silas (Acts 15:40).
The fact that Jesus sent them out in pairs will certainly have to do with the provision of the Torah that a matter does not have legal force until it is pleaded by two or three witnesses (see Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15).
By going on the road as a couple, they could also advise and assist each other.
And Mark further tells that the Lord Jesus gave His disciples power over unclean spirits. They were given authority by Him to cast out demons in His name (cf. Mark 3:15; 16:17; Luke 10:17). For Jesus himself possessed that power (Mark 1:27).
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