the Model for Short Term Supernatural Mission
Biblical Ministry and Mission
Chapter 2: The Disciples’ Mission and Ministry
Crowds followed Jesus constantly so that at times he and his followers could not even eat (Mark 3:20). A large group of devoted followers accompanied him, including many women who supported them. Jesus chose 12 to be with him constantly from among those followers and he chose 3 to witness unique events such as the transfiguration, raising Jairus’ daughter from death and his agonizing prayer in Gethsemane.
Jesus’ followers included many women who cared for him and his disciples.
After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. (Luke 8:1-3 NIV)
Jesus sent 70 [or 72] of his followers on mission in pairs.
After this the Lord appointed seventy [some manuscripts have 72] others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. …
17 The seventy [or 72] returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!’ (Luke 10:1-2, 17)
Jesus appeared to over 500 of his followers at one time after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6) and 120 of his followers chose a successor to Judas from among those who had been with them from the time of John the Baptist, including Joseph and Matthias.
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred and twenty people) and said, 16 ‘Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— …
21 So one of the men who have accompanied us throughout the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.’ 23 So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed and said, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:15-16, 21-26)
Jesus chose the 12 from among his followers to be his disciples (learners) whom he also called apostles (sent ones). They became leaders in the early church. The following passages describe how Jesus began inviting people to follow him first from the Jordan River where John was baptising and then in Galilee. Later from among these followers Jesus chose the 12.
This is important for short term supernatural mission. None of us can do it alone. Even Jesus multiplied his ministry with and through his disciples and followers.
He shared his life most deeply with the core group of the 12 who in turn became leaders in his church, working with and equipping others.
Called to Follow Jesus
Here are examples of how Jesus called some to be with him all the time and then involved them in supernatural mission.
Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, Nathaniel
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ 39 He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ 46 Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ (John 1:35-472)
Simon Peter and Andrew, James and John
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. (Mark 1:16-20; see Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:1-11)
Matthew (also called Levi)
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.
10 And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax-collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ 12 But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’ (Matthew 9:9-13; see Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32)
The 12 Apostles
Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:12-16; see Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19)
Jesus sent his disciples and other followers to preach and heal.
Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. (Matthew 10:1; see Luke 9:1)
Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. 6 They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere. (Luke 9:1-2, 6; see Matthew 10:1)
So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. (Mark 6:12-13)
After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. 2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. … 9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:1-3, 9)
Note how the followers of Jesus, especially the 12 and the 70 (or 72), did what Jesus did. They taught about the kingdom of God, healed the sick and cast out unclean spirits. Others also did that in Jesus’ name, which he approved. John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ 39 But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. 40 Whoever is not against us is for us. 41 For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward. (Mark 9:38-41)
The Disciples often failed
Jesus challenged his disciples, expecting them to have faith. They failed at times, as we do, but Jesus persisted with them. Here are examples.
Jesus calms the storm
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ 26 He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’ (Matthew 8:23-27; see Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25)
Walking on water
When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ 28 ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ 29 ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’ (Matthew 14:26-33 NIV; see Mark 6:45-52; John 6:15-21)
Bread and yeast
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 ‘Be careful,’ Jesus warned them. ‘Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.’ 16 They discussed this with one another and said, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ 17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’ ‘Twelve,’ they replied. 20 ‘And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’ They answered, ‘Seven.’ 21 He said to them, ‘Do you still not understand?’ (Mark 8:17-21 NIV; see Matthew 16:5-12) 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:12 NIV)
Who is the greatest?
They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’ 36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.’ (Mark 9:33-37 NIV; see Matthew 18:1-5; Luke 9:46-48)
Peter’s Declaration about Jesus
27 Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ 28 And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ 29 He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ 30 And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. (Mark 8:27-31)
Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ (Mark 8:31-33; see Matthew 16:13-28; Luke 9:18-27)
A boy possessed
A man in the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.’ 19 ‘You unbelieving generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.’ 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ 29 He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer [some manuscripts: prayer and fasting].’ (Mark 9:17-19, 28-29; see Matthew 17:14-21; Luke 9:37-43)
Arguments and opposition
An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and made him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.’ 49 ‘Master,’ said John, ‘we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.’ 50 ‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said, ‘for whoever is not against you is for you.’
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?’ 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village. (Luke 9:46-56 NIV; see Matthew 18:1-5; Mark 9:33-41)
Jesus blesses children
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16 NIV; see Matthew 19:13-15; Luke 18:15-17)
Dispute at the Last Supper
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:24-27 NIV; see John 13:1-20)
Jesus prays in Gethsemane
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Simon,’ he said to Peter, ‘are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ 39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. 41 Returning the third time, he said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. … 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled. (Mark 14:36-41, 50 NIV; see Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-46)
Peter denies Jesus
While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.’ 68 But he denied it, saying, ‘I do not know or understand what you are talking about.’ And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. 69 And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, ‘This man is one of them.’ 70 But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, ‘Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.’ 71 But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, ‘I do not know this man you are talking about.’ 72 At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And he broke down and wept. (Mark 14:66-72)
Jesus commissioned and equipped his followers
Jesus sent the 12 and the 70 (or 72) on mission with his authority and promised they would be empowered.
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal those who were ill. 3 He told them: ‘Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ 6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. (Luke 9:1-6 NIV; see Matthew 10:5-15)
After this the Lord appointed seventy [some manuscripts, 72] others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” 6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” … 17 The seventy [or 72] returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!’ 18 He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’ (Luke 10:1-9, 17-19)
Jesus’ final promise
So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. (Acts 1:6-9)
Jesus’ final promise is the key to effective short term supernatural mission. We can only do it in the power of the Spirit, as Jesus did and as his followers did.
We too must pray constantly, be led by the Spirit as Jesus was, and be obedient to his call.
Even the disciples failed, often. They knew Jesus well. They constantly witnessed his power and authority. Yet still their faith wavered sometimes.
Many times we may feel weak and inadequate especially when we are faced with great needs. But we do not depend on our own strength or our own abilities. We depend on Jesus. He is faithful to his word and his promises.
We may also face opposition, as Jesus and the disciples did, especially when we step out in faith and see God’s power healing and setting people free. Our eyes are fixed on Jesus, not on the storm around us. He has conquered and will continue to conquer. He alone is Lord.