Calling the twelve to him, he despatched them two by two giving them authority over evil spirits with these instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff - no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if in any place they will not welcome or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet as you leave, as a testimony against them." They went out and preached that people should repent and drove out many demons, anointing with oil and healing many sick people.
Opposition to the work of Jesus was spurred on by the jealousy of the religious leaders. And now, just as it was starting to get more difficult for people to come to Him, Jesus initiated a fresh approach. Those living in the towns throughout the Galilean region would have the opportunity to respond by welcoming His closest disciples. It was time for the 12 to get involved by spreading God's Word. The Kingdom of God has always required workers. Then it was the twelve; later it would be 70; still later all of us have become involved. By sending out the twelve to cast out evil spirits, Jesus also continued the work begun by John the Baptist. As Jesus had taught, repentance prepared the soil so that the seed can bring forth a good harvest.
So out they went. It was no fashion parade; no door-to-door selling. This was work the Rabbi had planned for His students. They were to spend time with people, live with them in their homes, get to know them and their problems, share their worries and fears. They would have to rely on the people they visited. Jesus sent His disciples out expecting that such people would be generous and hospitable - God's Kingdom is about God's generosity and hospitality.
His instructions were simple. The apostles were to dress simply, travel without money, wear a single tunic and take one pair of sandals only. They were to give thanks for what they received and were not to stick around arguing if there was no welcome. Then they would move on. The word had to be proclaimed. John's message was still the right one! They had to repent and clean up their act because they were living in the presence of their King before God. Repentance is an ongoing "sorry" to God, a search for a better way.
What is it "sorry" for? It is a repudiation of all presumption (Psalm 139:23-24).
Notice the results. They taught people to repent, freeing them from spiritual slavery. Jesus warned them to expect opposition, just like He had faced in His home town. Doors would be slammed in their faces but there was to be no banging on doors demanding a place to stay. This work would be continued with a similar pattern after Jesus rose from the dead. When people's hearts are opened to receive God's word their lives change in miraculous ways. When we repentantly receive what God has on offer generosity and hospitality flourish. That's how caring starts in God's Kingdom.