He summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere. (Luke 9:1-6)
Here are the 12 apostles in the second year of their apprenticeship with the greatest teacher of all. They know who He is because they have watched him perform miracles, seen people flock to His side and listened as His words transformed them and those around them.
But now comes the “double gulp.”
Jesus gathers them around and tells them they have all the power and the authority needed to perform good works (including miracles) in His name. And lest their selves become inflated with their authority, he teaches them about humility and about rejection.
He sent them in a manner that would require them to trust Him daily . . . “take nothing for your journey” He asked them to do this task that was impossible by human means, taking nothing that would normally be thought necessary.
Trusting God to provide is fundamental to discipleship and mission. That’s hard. It’s easier for us to say: “Those were relatively primitive times. These days – with homes and mortgages and careers and commitments and a worldwide pandemic– you can’t live like that.”
Well, we can.
The Twelve had to leave behind everything essential to their lives. Letting everything go was as challenging for them as it would be for us.The Lord wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves. Poverty of spirit frees us from greed and preoccupation with possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision He wills to work in and through each of us for his glory.
One of the greatest lessons we must learn and truly believe is the Christ in each of us. He is there. He is our daily companion. He asks only to be called upon so that his presence can be felt and acknowledged.
Think of that for a moment, The Christ within us. Each of us is blessed with his presence. If we could just grasp that each day and use that to guide us and comfort us every day, we would be free of attachments to anything but Jesus.
Shaking the dust from our feet is a way of saying that we ought not allow the hurt we receive to affect us. It’s a way of making a clear statement that we will not be controlled by the opinions and malice of others. This is an important choice to make in life when facing rejection.
It’s also saying that we must keep moving on. Not only do we have to get over any hurt we have, but we need to then move on to seek out those who will receive our love and our message of the Gospel. Reflect, today, upon any hurt you still carry in your heart because of the rejection of others. The power to do that, and to live that comes from where? That’s right. It comes from the Christ within us.
The mission of these disciples and the mission of His church is all about engaging and proclaiming the gospel to other people. It is about serving and loving other people, it is about going out of our comfort zone to be a part of other people’s lives, and ultimately seeing other people come into relationship with God so that they may be a part of what He is doing in this world to restore all things to Himself.
That’s what His kingdom on earth is all about.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, make me a channel of your grace and healing love that others may find life and freedom in you. Free me from all other attachments that I may joyfully pursue the things of heaven. May I witness the joy of the gospel both in word and deed.”
The Twelve had to learn the hard way. They had to literally abandon all for the One who is all. Is it any different for us? I don’t think so. I think the Lord wants us to love Him and our neighbor unconditionally. To do so still requires a radical approach, like Francis of Assisi who stripped himself of all worldly goods and was followed and loved by a multitude. Detachment from worldly goods can only be achieved if there is attachment on what is above! True love can only be given if true Love is received. Who I am is directly related to Who He is to me. The Twelve began to walk, to preach, to cure, to live life because they kneeled, listened and experienced a life that was lived to the full in Christ Jesus.