Today’s reading was Mark 6:7-13
7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.
8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
Some scattered thoughts, with no unifying theme:
The old 1984 NIV calls the “impure” spirits, “evil” spirits, and it’s interesting that there is such a close linguistic connection between the two ideas. We as Christians would shy away from exposing ourselves to something that was evil (I hope) but are we so careful about exposing ourselves (through TV, movies, internet etc.) to what is impure? If we understood the close connection between impurity and evil, perhaps we would be more picky about what we allow our eyes to see.
It’s interesting that in the instructions to the Twelve here, Jesus is definitely advocating a minimalist approach to ministry. They are not to take anything more than they need. They are travelling light. When I consider all that we think necessary for ministry, I sometimes wonder at the fact that prior to the 20th century, most churches did not have electricity, amplified music, computer slideshows… yet if any of this fails in our contemporary settings, we feel stuck. What nonsense. Give me a Bible, an audience, a voice to preach and some anointing and that will be enough! The gospel has never needed PowerPoint.
What these disciples basically had was authority from Jesus, and a mission to complete. They were not to seek extra comfort. They were not to go from house to house seeking superior accommodations, but just to be satisfied with what they had, depending on Christ to supply what they needed.
And as they moved through the world, they would encounter those who were sick, and those who were demonized (or at least spiritually troubled, to give a more generic application). And as they did, they would offer relief. As you move through your world today, look for those who are sick and troubled. If the context allows it, offer to pray for them. See what God might do, through those who go out with His authority on His mission.