“And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.” (Mark 6:7)
If we had nothing but Mark 1-5, and in it nothing but examples of Jesus exercising his authority, how therefore should we assume that Jesus authorized his apostles to do their initial work around Galilee?
The same way he:
- Healed the man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue
- Cleansed the leper
- Healed the paralytic
- Called Peter the fisherman and Levi the tax collector to be disciples
- Healed the man with a withered hand
- Calmed a storm
- Demanded demons to shut up
- Cast demons out into pigs
- Healed Jairus’ daughter
What is the pattern of Jesus’ authority? What is the natural reading of “he gave them authority”?
By the authority of his word and the power of his name.
Interesting that in the few examples of touch, one (with the leper) is significant because it is unexpected (Jesus was contagious, not the leper!), or gentle and tender (with Jairus’ “sleeping” daughter). We have already learned by this point that Jesus doesn’t *need* to touch anyone.
If Jesus can cast a demon out by his words, he can can cleanse a leper by his words, and if Jesus can heal (and forgive!) the paralytic by his words, he didn’t need to touch Jairus’ daughter.