Commissioned for Service

Mark 6:6-13


When I attended college, it was mandatory for every male student to participate in a minimum of one year of ROTC. Because I participated in the ROTC rifle team, I continued in the program for a second year. At the end of that year I had a decision to make. Either I enlisted in the army and continued my military training or I left the program. I chose to leave the program. Several of my classmates chose to continue. At the end of four years, those men who continued in ROTC were commissioned as second lieutenants. They had a separate commissioning service from the regular graduation. Those men were commissioned to serve their country in a very active way.

When Jesus began His public ministry, large crowds of people followed Him wherever He went. The Bible refers to these followers as disciples. At a critical moment, Jesus selected 12 men to be His ministry partners. Jesus commissioned these men to serve along side of Him.

As Jesus continued to preach a revolutionary gospel, many of His original followers opted out of the program. The Twelve made the choice to stick with Jesus to the end. John records this watershed moment in John 6:66-69.

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.

Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

It has been easy, in the past, to be part of the crowd that followed Jesus from a distance. As more and more pressure is being placed on the Church today, many people are opting out. Those who choose to stay will be tested.

All of us who are genuine followers of Jesus have been commissioned for service. Where we will perform that service and what it will entail will be different. Yet, Jesus has called all of us to continue His work in this world. Each of us has a role to play in God’s eternal plan. We have been commissioned for active duty in the service of the King.

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16

Study 1: Mark 3:13-19

Jesus was very strategic in His ministry. Although large crowds followed Him wherever He went, He knew that He could not truly invest in all of them. Instead, Jesus selected twelve men, into whom He would concentrate His energy.

1. Luke 6:12 fills in some important information about the selection of the Twelve.

a. What did Jesus do before He selected the Twelve?

b. What does this tell us about Jesus?

2. It seems like Jesus made a big deal out of the selection of the Twelve.

a. What is implied about other people being present at this time?

b. How do you think the Twelve felt when they were called?

c. Why would Jesus call them in a “public” setting?

3.Jesus commissioned the Twelve for service.

a. What word is used for the Twelve? What is the significance of this?

b. What was to be the Twelve’s relationship with Jesus?

c. What responsibilities was Jesus going to entrust to the Twelve?

4. Why was it important for the Gospel writers to specifically name the Twelve?


1.When you have to make a significant decision, what do you do?

2. How does this event highlight Jesus’ humanity?

3.What would some reasons why Jesus would select 12 men to be apostles?

4. How does the selection of 12 men relate to the Kingdom of God and the New Covenant?

5. Why do we normally commission people for important positions in a public setting?

6. How did the expectations of the 12 and the other disciples change after this event?

7. What does it mean for you to be called into Christ’s service?

Study 2: Mark 6:6-13

This passage records the disciples’ first big ministry assignment.

1. How does vs. 6 relate to the sending out of the Twelve?

2. Why do you think Jesus sent them out in twos?

3. What special authority did Jesus give to the Twelve and why was that important?

4. Jesus gave the Twelve some specific instructions before they left.

a. What did Jesus tell them about how they were to equip themselves? Why would He do this?

b. How did Jesus tell them to approach a town?

c. How were they to act in relationship to the reception that they received?

5. What was the message that the Twelve proclaimed?

6. How did God affirm their message?


1.How can excitement and enthusiasm get in the way of us being effective witnesses for Christ?

2. The disciples spent time listening to Jesus before they were sent out. Why was this important?

3. Why is it important that we spend time learning and growing in our faith before we try to launch out into the world?

4. Jesus limited the personal resources that the disciples took with them for a purpose. What does this teach us about trusting Christ?

5. Jesus sent the Twelve out in twos. What does that teach us about doing ministry?

6. If we are obedient to a specific direction from Christ, we can we expect as an outcome?

Study 3: Matthew 10:1-16

Matthew gives us the most extensive account of the sending out of the Twelve.

1. Matthew combines the selection of the Twelve with their commission to serve.

a. Look over chapters 5-9. What significant things are recorded?

b. How might those things relate to the sending out of the Twelve?

2. Jesus was very specific about the assignment that He was giving to the Twelve.

a. Who were they to go to and who were they to avoid? Why?

b. What was to be their message and their mission?

c. Why was the purpose of limiting what they could take with them?

3.What were the disciples to do when they entered a town?

4. What were they to do if their message was not received?


1.Jesus sent out the disciples on a very focused mission. What can that teach us about our mission?

2. The message that the disciples were to preach was clear and simple. Why is it important for us to have a clear and simple message?

3. Jesus told the disciples, “Freely you have received, freely give.” How does that relate to how we share God’s grace and good news with others?

4. What does this passage teach us about trusting Christ as we serve Him?

5. What does this passage teach us about responding to the reactions of others to the message of the Gospel?

Study 4:Luke 9:1-6

Luke gives us a shorter version of the sending of the Twelve.

1. What empowerment did Jesus give to the Twelve?

2. What was their specific assignment?

3.What is implied by Jesus command to take nothing for the journey?

4. Why would Jesus tell the disciples to stay in one home in each town?

5. How were they to respond to those who refused hospitality to them?

6. How did the Twelve respond to Jesus’ assignment?

7. What do you think would have been the experience of the twelve as they preached and healed in Jesus’ authority?


1.The vast majority of us do not have the power to cast out demons and heal people, but we are all empowered by Christ.

a. What empowerment has Jesus given to you?

b. How can you use it to serve Christ?

2. The Bible refers to Jesus’ empowerment of his disciples as spiritual gifts. Review the following passages and make a list of the gifts recorded. (NOTE: These lists are representative and not exhaustive.)

a. Romans 12:3-8

b. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

3. What do the following verses teach us about being commissioned for Christ’s service?

a. Matthew 28:18-20

b. Acts 1:8

c. 2 Corinthians 5:20