1. Then Jesus left there and went to His hometown of Nazareth, accompanied by His disciples.
2. And when the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were utterly amazed and astonished, saying, "Where did this Man get all this? What is the source of the intelligence, insight and wisdom which He has obviously acquired? And how has this wisdom given Him the ability to work these mighty miracles?
3. Isn't He just a local carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son...the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Don't His sisters live right here in the neighborhood with us? Who in the world does He think He is?" And they were offended that He attempted to be something that, in their opinion, He was not...the natural knowledge of Him was an unavoidable roadblock to their being able to acknowledge His authority...and so they just shut down on Him, mentally and emotionally.
4. But Jesus said to them, "You know, only in his hometown, among his own relatives, friends and acquaintances, is a prophet without honor."
5. And because of their limited collective perception of Him, He could not do any miracles there...at least none of His more impressive manifestations of power. He was just able to lay His hands on a few sick people, in order to help them feel a little better.
6. And He was astounded at their unbelief...really surprised by their lack of faith in Him. But He let it go, and went around the surrounding villages and continued teaching.
7. And He called to Him the Twelve, and began to send them out on their own, in pairs, as His personal ambassadors. He also gave them authority and power over rebel spirits, and any other evil opposition.
8. And He instructed them to basically take nothing with them on their journey...no external equipment...so that they would have to rely, solely, on the internal gifts which He had imparted to them.
9. He allowed them to wear their sandals, but told them not to even take a change of clothes with them, wanting them to keep it simple, and to learn to use their own faith for their self-preservation.
10. And He encouraged them to make real connections with the people to whom they would minister, telling them, "Wherever you go into a house, just stay there until you leave that area.
11. But if any community will not receive, embrace and welcome you...if they refuse to listen to you...then get out of there. And when you depart, make a grand gesture of shaking off the dust from their streets that is on your feet, for a visible testimony against them."
12. And when this unlikely and somewhat limited group of men hit the road under His authoritative command, they preached a powerful and urgent message, joyfully proclaiming the possibility of a radical life-change.
13. And their message was effective...rebel spirits were expelled everywhere they went, and they brought wellness and wholeness to the sick, anointing them, and healing them, spirit, soul and body.