Day 2 of this week’s Methodist Church online Bible studies, which you can also find here.
The Mission of the Twelve
Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there.Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
Now Herod the ruler heard about all that had taken place, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the ancient prophets had arisen. Herod said, ‘John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?’ And he tried to see him.
Psalm: Psalm 73:1-14
Work experience will have been a really commonplace experience for many people in the past 30 years or so. They’ve listened to the theory, had some input from an expert and now’s the time to try it out. And that’s exactly where the 12 disciples are in this passage. Jesus sends them out to “proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal”. Behind these few verses must lurk a ton of questions about how, when, where, what …
In a previous career, I spent ten years training newspaper reporters and can still recall the look of horror when the first day came to send them out into the nearby town with one simple instruction: come back with six story ideas.
They were armed with a notebook, a pen, a good mind and the ability to ask the right questions. I also knew there were any number of good stories waiting out there.
The disciples were sent apparently with nothing. Well, they had the power to preach, to heal and to cast out demons. Apart from that, they took no possessions. Why? Because they needed to rely on the power of the story they took with them and also the generosity of those to whom they went.
Hospitality was a feature of life in biblical times and to go with too much wealth would be to tempt the disciples to shop around for the most comfortable lodgings. To travel light allowed them to be guests and know generosity.
Perhaps, as bearers of the story of Jesus, we need to relearn how to be guests in other people’s lives; to go with faith and a willingness to share rather than an insistence that only we have all the riches.
- Where are you being asked to go and proclaim the kingdom of God?
- And what do you need to leave behind?