In my garden I have the plant Allysum. I planted the first seeds about 7 or 8 years ago and ever since then it has popped up every year. It has beautiful white flowers and creeping habit.
In Mark 6:7-13 we discover that the gospel is meant to be spread around. The gospel doesn’t just stay with Jesus himself, as the sole preacher of his good news. He includes others in the mission. The Twelve Disciples are sent out to spread the good news of the Kingdom of God. They are sent out to do what Jesus has been doing. This part of Mark describes their first test run as Jesus’ representatives.
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.
If you’ve been around church for a while, I think we all know that the church is meant to be on mission. However, sometimes it can seem like mission impossible. It can seem a little too difficult. Isn’t the story we tell ourselves, that Christianity is on the decline in the West and in Australia? We can tell ourselves that not many people are actually interested in the things of God anymore. Perhaps, we become resigned to the idea that the best we can do is to just keep what we’ve got. We then protect and maintain what we already have. Yet, these verses challenge that mindset. These verses should set wind in our sails.
Jesus wants his gospel to be spread around. That’s the obvious point from Mark 6. I think we often become discouraged because we forget or fail to trust that the power of the gospel isn’t in us. Jesus is the one at work through the means he appoints, his representatives. It’s not up to us to save anyone. Our role, as Jesus’ church, is to be faithful to what Jesus calls us to do, to be messengers who preach Christ. We’re to trust that Jesus and his gospel is powerful to save.
Now there are some caveats here when we come to think about how these verses apply to us today. For starters, we’re not the 12 disciples. These are men who are the foundation of the church, at least 11 of these men were anyhow. These are the Apostles, with specific instructions for a short time, a short term trip, in Galilee. That said, these words guide us in thinking about Christian mission. They are for us as Christian pastors, and Churches, and individual Christians today.
The principle is that Christ uses people, his representatives, to spread his message. And includes us. Even our small and insignificant looking church plant, meeting in a hall in Hadspen that we share with the local cricket club over the summer months. Jesus even uses us as we head out during the week into our various callings and jobs and networks as representatives of the King.
We have the privilege of being a part of God’s great gospel mission in Jesus. Like the Apostles, we’re called to him, saved by him, to be sent out to serve him. Like the Apostles, we’re to trust him to provide for his mission. What a joy and honour!
Please get in touch if you’d like to join us in serving Jesus’ mission here in the Launceston area, or have any thoughts on this topic. We’d love to hear from you.