1. Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
2. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
3. And he said to them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.
4. And whatsoever house you enter into, there abide, and thence depart.
5. And whosoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
6. And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the Gospel, and healing every where.
CYRIL; It was fitting that those who were appointed the ministers of holy teaching should be able to work miracles, and by these very acts themselves be believed to be the ministers of God. Hence it is said, Then called he his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils. Herein He brings down the haughty pride of the devil, who once said, There is none who shall open his mouth against me.
EUSEB. And that through them the whole race of mankind may be sought out, He not only gives them power to drive away evil spirits, but to cure all kind of diseases at His command; as it follows, And to cure diseases.
CYRIL; Mark here the divine power of the Son, which belongs not to a fleshly nature. For it was in the power of the saints to perform miracles not by nature, but by participation of the Holy Spirit; but it was altogether out of their power to grant this authority to others. For how could created natures possess dominion over the gifts of the Spirit? But our Lord Jesus Christ, as by nature God, imparts graces of this kind to whomsoever He will, not invoking upon them a power which is not His own, but infusing it into them from Himself.
CHRYS. But after that they had been sufficiently strengthened by His guidance, and had received competent proofs of His power, He sends them out, as it follows, And he sent them to teach the kingdom of God. And here we must remark, that they are not commissioned to speak of sensible things as Moses and the Prophets; for they promised a land and earthly goods, but these a kingdom, and whatsoever is contained in it.
GREG. NAZ. Now in sending His disciples to preach, our Lord enjoined many things on them, the chief of which are, that they should be so virtuous, so constant, so temperate, and, to speak briefly, so heavenly, that no less through their manner of living than their words, the teaching of the Gospel might be spread abroad. And therefore were they sent with lack of money, and staves, and a single garment; He accordingly adds, And he said to them, Take nothing in the way, neither staves.
CHRYS. Many things indeed He ordained hereby; first indeed it rendered the disciples unsuspected; secondly, it held them aloof from all care, so that they might give their whole study to the word; thirdly, it taught them their own proper virtue. But perhaps some one will say that the other things indeed are reasonable, but for what reason did He command them to have no scrip on their way, nor two coats, nor staff? In truth, because He wished to rouse them to all diligence, taking them away from all the cares of this life, that they might be occupied by the one single care of teaching.
EUSEB. Wishing then that they should be free from the desire of wealth and the anxieties of life, He gave this injunction. He took it as a proof of their faith and courage, that when it was commanded them to lead a life of extreme poverty, they would not escape from what was ordered. For it was fitting that they should make a kind of bargain, receiving these saving virtues to recompense them for obedience to commands. And when He was making them soldiers of God, He girds them for battle against their enemies, by telling them to embrace poverty. For no soldier of God entangles himself in the affairs of a secular life.
AMBROSE; Of what kind then he ought to be who preaches the Gospel of the kingdom of God is marked out by these Gospel precepts; that is, he must not require the supports of secular aid; and clinging wholly to faith, he must believe that the less he requires those things, the more they will be supplied to him.
THEOPHYL. For He sends them out as very beggars, so that He would have them neither carry bread, nor any thing else of which men are generally in want.
AUG. Or, the Lord did not wish the disciples to possess and carry with them these things, not that they were not necessary to the support of this life, but because He sent them thus to show that these things were due to them from those believers to whom they announced the Gospel, that so they might neither possess security, nor carry about with them the necessaries of this life, either great or little. He has therefore, according to Mark, excluded all except a staff, showing that the faithful owe every thing to their ministers who require no superfluities. But this permission of the staff He has mentioned by name, when He says, They should take nothing in the way, but a staff only.
AMBROSE; To those also who wish it, this place admits of being explained, so as to seem only to represent a spiritual temper of mind, which appears to have castoff as it were a certain covering of the body; not only rejecting power and despising wealth, but renouncing also the delights of the flesh itself.
THEOPHYL. Some also understand by the Apostles not carrying scrip, nor staff, nor two coats, that they must not lay up treasures, (which a scrip implies, collecting many things,) nor be angry and of a quarrelsome spirit, (which the staff signifies,) nor be false and of a double heart, (which is meant by the two coats.)
CYRIL; But it may be said, How then shall necessary things be prepared for them. He therefore adds, And into whatsoever house you enter, there abide, and thence depart. As if He said, Let the food of disciples suffice you, who receiving from you spiritual things, will minister to you temporal. But He ordered them to abide in one house, so as neither to incommode the host, (that is, so as to send him away,) nor themselves to incur the suspicion of gluttony and wantonness.
AMBROSE; He pronounces it to be foreign to the character of a preacher of the heavenly kingdom to run from house to house and change the rights of inviolable hospitality; but as the grace of hospitality is supposed to be offered, so also if they are not received the dust must be shaken oil; and they are commanded to depart from the city; as it follows, And whosoever will not receive you when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony, &c.
THEOPHYL; The dust is shaken off from the Apostles' feet as a testimony of their labors, that they entered into a city, and the apostolical preaching had reached to the inhabitants thereof. Or the dust is shaken off when they receive nothing (not even of the necessaries of life) from those who despised the Gospel.
CYRIL; For it is very improbable that those who despise the saving Word, and the Master of the household, will show themselves kind to His servants, and seek further blessings.
AMBROSE; Or it is a great return of hospitality which is here taught, i.e. that we should not only wish peace to our hosts, but also if any faults of earthly infirmity obscure them, they should be removed by receiving the footsteps of apostolical preaching.
THEOPHYL; But if any by treacherous negligence, or even from zeal, despise the word of God, their communion must be shunned, the dust of the feet must be shaken off, lest by their vain deeds which are to be compared to the dust, the footstep of a chaste mind be defiled.
EUSEB. But when the Lord had girded His disciples as soldiers of God with divine virtue and wise admonitions, sending them to the Jews as teachers and physicians, they afterwards went forth, as it follows, And they departed, and went through the towns preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
Catena Aurea Luke 9