The problems that the early disciples encountered are still with us. The only difference is that, through social media, reaching out to people is now faster and safer than was the case at that time. Attitudes have not changed and the dangers still exist as much as they existed then. The resistance of the gospel is still prevailing as it prevailed at the time of Jesus.
The most important activity that occupied Jesus’ mind was the spread of the gospel. Jesus told His disciples of the dangers associated with the gospel, expected to be preached. He initially appointed the twelve disciples, training them on how to disseminate the gospel. He sent them out to travel in pairs, reaching out to those connected to the lost sheep of Israelites.
The purpose of sending them in pairs was based on the tradition that matters needed to be settled when testified by two witnesses. The preaching method to the lost sheep of Israel would not be the same as approaching the raw Gentile public. Reaching out to those people fulfilled the witnessing program.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “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, and drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:5-8 NIV).
The resistance was to be anticipated. Not many people are aware of the resistance of the gospel, appearing as no longer the case, in our time. Humanly speaking, preaching the gospel is not something that can be achieved without God’s intervention. Jesus never indicated that preaching the gospel would be easy-going. The treatment of the apostles would be similar to how Jesus was often treated.
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward” (Matthew 10:40-42 NIV).
The work of God is not financed by human beings. It would not be the work of God if anyone were assumed to be responsible for financing the gospel mission. God finances His work, using people who may not even be dedicated Christians. The disciples did not carry financial provisions when sent on that missionary expedition. Everything went according to God’s plan.
“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” (Matthew 10:9-15 NIV).
The mission had been directed to the lost sheep of Israel. Others would accept the gospel, but others could not. The instruction was that the disciples would not carry any gold or silver or copper to take with them. They were not even to carry bags of money, extra clothing or sandals.