And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
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Cornelius a Lapide
And when He had called, &c. Observe that Christ, out of all His disciples, chose principally twelve, as S. Luke shows more at length (vi13.). He chose twelve Apostles that they should be His chief legates, whom He invested with plenary authority and power, and sent them forth into all the world to proclaim His Gospel unto all nations. He chose also seventy-two others; but these He called disciples, not Apostles, although they too are spoken of by ancient writers as Apostles, that is legates or ambassadors of Christ. And such in fact they were, but with less power, as being subject and subordinate to the twelve Apostles. These twelve Christ now sends forth, that they may begin to discharge the office to which they were called, that they may serve their novitiate under Himself as their master, that afterwards being made priests and bishops, they may after His death fully accomplish their office and ministry. Wherefore Christ made the Apostles the Princes of His Church, and superior to al...
ily I say unto you, &c. They shall be more heavily punished and condemned who reject the Apostles than the Sodomites were, who perished in the fearful fire from heaven, by which the whole Pentapolis was consumed, for an awful example to all ages.
You will ask, how can this be true, since the sin of Sodom was a very great crime contrary to nature, and crying to heaven? The sin of Sodom is reckoned amongst the worst sins, but in the catalogue of lusts, or sins against the natural law of chastity only, for, in other respects, it is certain that there are worse sins, such as heresy, infidelity, blasphemy, sacrilege, despair, hatred of God. Those therefore who rejected the Apostles, and in so doing rejected the grace and salvation of Christ, sinned far worse than the Sodomites, and that, not by a single, but by a manifold sin, viz, 1. by the sin of infidelity, 2. of disobedience, 3. of ingratitude, 4. of inhospitality, 5. of rebellion and contumacy against God, contrary to the law of natur...
Before this time the 12 were called disciples, and not apostles. But now he selects these from the disciples, and makes them, as it were, masters and interpreters of the ways of God to man. He sent afterwards 72 other disciples, (Luke x. 1,) but these 12 only to the whole world. (Haydock)
His twelve Christ chose 12 apostles, that they might correspond to the number of the Jewish patriarchs, by whom they may be said to have been prefigured; and that as the whole Jewish people were descended according to the flesh from the 12 patriarchs, so the whole Christian people might be descended according to the spirit from the 12 apostles. (Menochius)
Others say he chose 12, neither more nor less, to correspond with the 12 prophets of the old law, with the 12 fountains in Elim; and the 12 stones selected from the river Jordan, and preserved in the ark of the testament. Others compare the 12 apostles to the 12 months of the year, and the four evangelists to the four seasons.
The kind and merciful Lord and Master does not begrudge his followers and disciples their powers. Even as he had healed every disease and every infirmity, he empowered his apostles to heal every disease and every infirmity. But there is a great gap between having and granting, between giving and receiving. Whatever he does, he does in the power of the Lord. Whatever they do, they display their own weakness and the power of the Lord, saying, “In the name of Jesus, arise and walk.” It must be noted, further, that the power to work miracles is granted to the apostles even to the twelfth man. .
If the Spirit had not yet been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified, how then did the disciples cast out the unclean spirits? They did this by his own command, by the Son’s authority. Note the careful timing of their mission. They were not sent out at the beginning of their walk with him. They were not sent out until they had sufficiently benefited by following him daily. It was only after they had seen the dead raised, the sea rebuked, devils expelled, the legs of a paralytic brought to life, sins remitted, lepers cleansed, and had received a sufficient proof of his power both by deeds and words—only then did he send them out. And he did not send them out unprepared to do dangerous deeds, for as yet there was no danger in Palestine. They had only to stand against verbal abuse. However, Jesus still warned them of larger perils to come, preparing them for what was future. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily
Still the Spirit was not yet given. For there was not yet, it says, a Spirit, because that Jesus was not yet glorified. How then did they cast out the spirits? By His command, by His authority.
And mark, I pray you, also, how well timed was the mission. For not at the beginning did He send them; but when they had enjoyed sufficiently the advantage of following Him, and had seen a dead person raised, and the sea rebuked, and devils expelled, and a paralytic new-strung, and sins remitted, and a leper cleansed, and had received a sufficient proof of His power, both by deeds and words, then He sends them forth: and not to dangerous acts, for as yet there was no danger in Palestine, but they had only to stand against evil speakings. However, even of this He forewarns them, I mean of their perils; preparing them even before the time, and making them feel as in conflict by His continual predictions of that sort.
. He chose twelve disciples according to the number of the twelve tribes. He gave them power, although indeed they were few, and sent them out. For few are they who walk the narrow way. He granted them the power to work miracles so that having first caused astonishment by the miracles, the disciples would then have receptive listeners for their teaching.