Luke 9: 1 – 9 Jesus sends out the Twelve
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal those who were ill. He told them: ‘Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they set and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.
Now Herod the Tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, ‘I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?’ And he tried to see him.
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This was a real test of faith for the Twelve. They had to trust God for everything. Food, drink, shelter, endurance, even laundry. They were to take nothing at all on the journey, and, to avoid misunderstandings, Jesus specifically ruled out certain things; ‘Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. You could imagine one of them saying to himself, ‘I always have my staff when walking. Jesus can’t mean that!’ But Jesus can mean that, and Jesus says so!
They also have to trust God to work miracles through them. If a healing failed – imagine the ridicule; imagine the disappointment. The Twelve must have seen Jesus heal so many people, so consistently, that they had the necessary confidence. But, actually, not every healing that the disciples attempted was successful. Later in his ministry, just after the Transfiguration, we read, “I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.’ (Luke 9:40)
What should we learn for our own walk of faith in the present?
While we all have to trust God for what we need, some people are called to a more radical level of trust, either permanently or for a specific mission. We should be aware that such people exist. We need to be eager to support them for Jesus’ sake. We need to be aware that we ourselves might be called to live with such dependence on God.
Also, if Jesus calls us to carry out a specific task, he will tell us very specifically about any constraints (no staff, no extra shirt…).
I have experienced such instructions myself, for this blog. Jesus has given me two very specific instructions. Firstly, it is to take priority over my other writing – i.e. I must make it my first task of the day, and continue until it’s done. Secondly, I must simply post it; I must not use the usual strategies of commenting on and following other people’s blogs to build readership. He’s also told me why. The first is because if he has first claim on my time and energy and talents, he can bless me by enabling me to feel him close. The second is so that he can define who he guides to my blog.
Thank you for the world you have created; thank you for Jesus, and the salvation he brings; thank you for your Holy Spirit to lead us into truth.
In Jesus name, Amen