Jesus calls the Twelve together and sends them out to preach His message to the villages throughout the area. While they are doing that, He gives them authority to cast out demons and heal diseases. These signs are there to prove to the people that these men are teaching the true things of God. They are also to take no provisions for their travels, but to rely on the hospitality of those who hear them. This way, they will rely on God instead of their own might, thus proving to themselves that they are doing God’s work.
The disciples were instructed to not wear out their welcome by staying in many different houses in a village, but keep to just one before moving on. This helps ensure that they will reach as many different villages and towns as possible. However, if no one accepts their message, they are to leave immediately, shaking the dust off their feet as they go. This is a symbolic act that the Pharisees would do as they left Gentile lands to return home, removing any possible defilement they may have picked up during their travels. For the disciples to do this in Jewish towns would be to say that those towns were not truly part of God’s people.
Around this time, the report of Jesus has reached Herod the tetrarch. He was the Roman governor over Galilee, the region Jesus has spent most of His time ministering so far. However, he was getting a garbled report because some people thought that Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead, or Elijah. Herod didn’t believe in a resurrection, it seems, but he did want to know who could cause such reports as this. This may be a strange place to put this detail for Luke to put in his narrative, but it is a point that will come up again much later in the book.
Help us to preach Your word to the world, standing firm on the truth even when no one wants to hear it.