Journal Mk 6 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.
And (Jesus) said to them, “Whenever you enter a house stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”
So, they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.” Mark 6:7-13
Observation: Shaking off the dust on my feet; is this like shrugging my shoulders? And if so, is it because of the message? And if so, what message?
Analysis: If there is such a thing as being a rookie Christian, I think it both applies and doesn’t apply to the Twelve.
Here are twelve guys; from different backgrounds and education; all eager in the Faith—some perhaps more than others—and one destined to be the designated traitor (to fulfil prophecy). Still there is no indication that Judas Iscariot was no less eager for this assignment than say, Peter.
Message? Repent from evil ways and seek the Kingdom of God. Authority? From the establishment, none. But here is the mark of authority: Casting out demons, healing the sick.
So, there are these guys, sent out by Jesus, to DECLARE a particular message, and He gave them a toolbox of Gifts to use.
And He sent them prepared to fail.
Am I prepared to fail? No, I am afraid I will fail. Worse yet: I am afraid of succeeding (more on this another time).
Most times I confess or exhibit fear, well meaning folks start citing verses “casting out fear”, or, “fear not”, or verses similar. But Jesus prepares the Twelve by telling them, “There is a chance that you will not be heard. If that happens, turn around, don’t waste your time. Shrug your shoulders, dust off your feet, and move along.”
I haven’t paid attention to the Parable of the Soils. If I did, I would understand that only about 1/8th (approximately 12.5%) of all that have some response to the Gospel will bear deep, abiding, good fruit. Is that a hard and fast rule? Nope—but what is hard and fast is that no one responds to the Gospel unless Jesus calls them first—and not all will respond.
What do I do? How do I respond?
This morning, I think of the word “hypocrisy.” Am I willing, eager, and able to declare the Kingdom of God in my own house? Do I practice “being a fool for Christ” in my home?
Or is that something that I am prepared to perform hypocritically to strangers alone?
Prayer: Father, if I don’t practice Your Word in the confines of my home, before my wife and children, before my comrades in Christ and in the local church…because I am either lazy or afraid, what good am I before strangers?