"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 22

Two By Two We're Sent

Read: Mark 6:7-14a

Text: (Mark 6:7 KJV) And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two…

Theme: Christians are to GO with the gospel message.


QUESTION - Jesus sent the disciples out, seemingly with no provisions for their journey. Why could they take no provisions?

ANSWER - Perhaps the reason for these prohibitions was that the twelve were to depend upon God to provide the needs for their journey.

QUOTE - Jesus wanted the mark of His disciples to be "utter simplicity, complete trust, and the generosity which is out always to give, and never to demand." (Barclay)

QUOTE - Wiersbe's thoughts: "We must not take these orders as pertaining to all ministry, for God does expect us to use common sense as we plan our trips. Jesus encouraged them to live by faith, a lesson God's people need to learn in every age. Their main task was to preach the Word and lead people to trust the Savior."

QUESTION - What do you think of the following quote from a commentary entitled "Mark's Superb Gospel?" (Draw particular attention to the bolded portion of the quote. Is it true?) -

QUOTE - "Their trust in God had to be complete. They were to go forth as poor men, and this had to be obvious to all with whom they came into contact. They were not to carry excessive changes of raiment; they would need no suitcases. They were not to carry supplies of money nor food; constantly, they were to be completely dependent upon God to meet their needs. Today, we live in a different world. To make great advances for Christ, enormous sums of money have to be spent on television and radio coverage, etc. Modern preachers reach more individuals within one half an hour segment than the disciples would have reached in many years of untiring service. Today, television personalities find it necessary to appeal constantly for the financial aid which makes their programs possible; the disciples of Jesus never appealed for anything except listening ears. Evangelists often have suits of various colors for every service; their fellow laborers must be clad in matching outfits to appeal to the watchful eyes of the audience. The disciples of Jesus had but one garment and probably that was a dirty, dust-filled, unattractive cloth draped from shoulders to ankles. The New Testament preachers had no money to buy snacks or anything else, but they possessed within their souls a power that shook Hell!"

QUESTION - If they were to take no provisions, then how would God provide for these soul winners' needs?

ANSWER - The primary means by which God would provide for the twelve in their traveling was through the hospitality of individuals in various places.

QUESTION - Why were they told to "shake off the dust under their feet?"

ANSWER - The College Press NIV Commentary suggests, "This was a symbolic act of separation and condemnation."

QUOTE - "Mark's Superb Gospel" suggests, "The Jews were very strict in their laws and practices concerning shaking off unclean dust. They insisted that when a foreigner entered the country, his first act would be to shake off the dust brought from the Gentile world. It was their means of proclaiming that orthodox Jews could have no dealings with unclean people. When Jesus instructed the disciples to follow this procedure, He was using a practice well known in every community. He was proclaiming the simple fact that a man who refused to entertain the preacher of the Gospel, was as unclean in the sight of God as Gentiles were in the estimation of the Jewish rabbis. "

QUESTION - What was the message? How did it compare to Jesus' message? How does it compare to our message today? Has the message changed now that we are nearing the end of the 20th century?

QUESTION - They anointed many with oil. What was the purpose of the oil?

QUOTE - The College Press NIV Commentary suggests, "In interpreting the disciples use of anointing with oil it would be unwise to overlook the common use of oil as a medical potion in antiquity.... The widespread recognition of oil's medicinal value may have suggested its usefulness as a symbol in connection with miraculous healings."

QUOTE - Holman's Bible Dictionary says, "Medical care in biblical times frequently employed the use of different kinds of salves and ointments. Olive oil was used widely, either alone or as an ingredient in ointments. The use of oil for the treatment of wounds is mentioned in Isaiah 1:6 and Luke 10:34. Oil also became a symbol of medicine, and its use was coupled with prayer for the ill (Mark 6:13; James 5:14)."

(Mat 28:18-20 KJV) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

(Mark 16:15 KJV) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

(John 20:21 KJV) Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

(Acts 1:8 KJV) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.


I. The Sender

And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two…

QUESTION - Who is the sender?

QUESTION - Does it make a difference to us, with respect to our level of obedience, when we know who the sender is? Does it make a difference that it is JESUS who is sending? Why?

A. Most Christians don't seem to believe in Jesus.

(i.e. If they truly BELIEVED Him, they would OBEY Him.)

1. True in matter of WORSHIP

(Heb 10:25 KJV) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

2. True in matter of GIVING.

(Luke 6:38 KJV) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

3. True in matter of RIGHT LIVING.

(1 Pet 2:9 KJV) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

4. True in matter of WITNESSING.

B. Nothing happens until somebody goes.

QUOTE - "Nothing happens until you sell something." (Dan Kirby, salesman friend of mine)

ILLUS. On the flyleaf of one famous pastor's Bible are these words, "They will not seek, they must be sought; they will not come, they must be brought; they will not study, they must be taught."

C. Some Christians think the PREACHER is who is seeking soul winners.

(But it is Jesus who does!)

1. Initially, he called them to "be with Him."

(Mark 3:14 KJV) And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,

2. Now He instructed them to GO FOR HIM.

3. It is Jesus who sends us:

(1 Cor 6:20 KJV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

(Col 3:24 KJV) Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

(Rev 19:16 KJV) And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

ILLUS. The story is told of a king who issued invitations to some of his subjects to dine with him. One subject did not respond to the invitation. The king was angry. However, this subject did show up at the appointed time. When the king asked why he had not responded to the invitation, the subject said, "Sir, a king's invitation is not to be answered, but to be obeyed.."

QUOTE - The only alternative to soul winning is disobedience to Jesus Christ." (Curtis Hutson)

II. The Sendees

And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two…

QUESTION - What type of person did He send? Which people in our church would you compare them to? (i.e. pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers, janitors… which?)

A. Not just FULL TIME workers are to be witnesses.

B. ALL believers are to be witnesses.

READ Acts 8:1-4

C. Notice, ALL of the twelve were sent, NONE excepted.

QUESTION - Was Peter included in this group? Was Thomas? Was Judas? What is the significance of this?

III. The Strategy

And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two

QUESTION - Why two by two?

QUESTION - Is "two by two" a desired means of evangelism?

READ Acts 13:1-3

QUESTION - Does Malachi 3:6 apply here? (For I am the LORD, I change not…)

QUESTION - If you accept the premise which some cling to today, that two by two evangelism is an obsolete and ineffective means of evangelism in our society (AND I DON'T ACCEPT THIS PREMISE, BY THE WAY!), how would we apply the truths taught in this passage to other ministries and forms of evangelism in use in churches today?

A. Two by two is effective because it provides the personal approach.

1. The church will not reach the world through TV.

2. The church will not reach the world through RADIO.

3. The church will not reach the world through PRINTING PRESSES.

4. ONE ON ONE evangelism has been and continues to be the method God uses to reach the world.

ILLUS. "These that have turned the world upside down…" (They did it with the personal approach.)

ILLUS. The Apostle Paul had none of the aforementioned technologies to assist him, and yet he reached all the way to Spain with his ministry. He used the personal approach.

B. There were and are good reasons for the two by two approach to evangelism.

1. Legal reasons then.

QUOTE - "The background (for going two by two) may lie in Jewish legal practice where two witnesses established the evidence (Deut 17:6; 19:15; cf. Matt 18:16; John 8:17; 2 Cor 13:1; 1 Tim 5:19), but it also may reflect the travel conditions and the need for personal and moral support." (from Word Biblical Commentary)

(Mat 18:16 KJV) But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

(2 Cor 13:1 KJV) This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

2. Practical reasons always.

(Eccl 4:9 KJV) Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

ILLUS. Terry Miller getting threatened, and the two of us being able to laugh it off.

ILLUS. John Cornette and I being accosted by the police while knocking on doors… able to keep going anyway.

(When you're alone, you're ready to quit before you get started. A partner keeps you going!)

ILLUS. A friend and I were doing door to door evangelism in Pontiac, Michigan one frigid winter evening. We had knocked on many doors and had no success. We were freezing. My friend suggested that we should quit and go home. We agreed to try one more door, and if there was not a response, we would quit for the evening. At that next door we were met by an elderly lady and her husband, who, seeing we were freezing, invited us in. My friend was able to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them and lead them to Christ. Either of us, had we been alone, would have quit long before reaching that door, but we encouraged one another, and were able to last longer and accomplish more.

IV. The Strength Behind The Strategy

And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;

QUESTION - How does the power Jesus gave His disciples here apply to us today?

ANSWER - "Power" = "authority" (Strongs - 1849. exousia, ex-oo-see'-ah; from G1832 (in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subj.) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (obj.) mastery (concr. magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence:--authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.)

A. We do not go alone.

(Mat 28:20 KJV) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

B. The Holy Spirit's conviction is there.

(Zec 4:6 KJV) Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

C. The power of the Word of God is there.

(Isa 55:11 KJV) So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

(Rom 1:16 KJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

(Heb 4:12 KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

V. The Success Of The Strategy

(Mark 6:14a KJV) And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:)

A. Many directly heard, and were affected.

B. Some that heard indirectly were also affected (like Herod).

(God will bless soul winning, even if indirectly.)

QUOTE - "We visit a lot of people we never get, but we get a lot of people we never visit; but we would never get a lot of people we never visit if we didn't visit a lot of people we never get!" (Curtis Hutson)


(Mark 6:7 KJV) And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;

Christians are to GO with the gospel message. May God help us to be actively seeking the lost, and sharing our faith with them. May God help us to GO with the good news of Jesus Christ.

QUOTE - "The only generation that can reach this generation is our generation." Oswald J. Smith

QUOTE - "Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell." C.T. Studd

QUOTE - "The bringing of one soul to Jesus is the highest achievement possible to human life." George W. Truett

(Mark 6:7, 14a KJV) And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power… And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:)

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1997 William E. Johnson.