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Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities.

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Mt 11:1-19. The Imprisoned Baptist's Message to His MasterThe Reply, and Discourse, on the Departure of the Messengers, Regarding John and His Mission. ( = Lu 7:18-35).

1. And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciple—rather, "the twelve disciples,"

he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities—This was scarcely a fourth circuit—if we may judge from the less formal way in which it was expressed—but, perhaps, a set of visits paid to certain places, either not reached at all before, or too rapidly passed through, in order to fill up the time till the return of the Twelve. As to their labors, nothing is said of them by our Evangelist. But Luke (Lu 9:6) says, "They departed, and went through, the towns," or "villages," "preaching the Gospel, and healing everywhere." Mark (Mr 6:12, 13), as usual, is more explicit: "And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils (demons) and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them." Though this "anointing with oil" was not mentioned in our Lord's instructions—at least in any of the records of them—we know it to have been practiced long after this in the apostolic Church (see Jas 5:14, and compare Mr 6:12, 13)—not medicinally, but as a sign of the healing virtue which was communicated by their hands, and a symbol of something still more precious. It was unction, indeed, but, as Bengel remarks, it was something very different from what Romanists call extreme unction. He adds, what is very probable, that they do not appear to have carried the oil about with them, but, as the Jews used oil as a medicine, to have employed it just as they found it with the sick, in their own higher way.