Thursday, July 2nd Mark 6:6-7

Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. Mark 6:6-7

What would it have been like for the followers of Jesus to experience the rejection that Jesus faced in Nazareth? What changed in their conversation after leaving Nazareth compared to the journey there? Did Jesus tell “I remember when…” stories filled with laughter and the kind of light-heartedness we all use when we try to communicate “where we’re from” with friends? Or was there a darkness in the air?

Whatever they might have expected, mob violence might not have been high on their list. But they saw it with their own eyes. They saw Jesus doing exactly what they have grown to love in him – speaking with authority and conviction, challenging conventional wisdom, helping the hurting, promising a future of hope and restoration – and they saw the very people among whom Jesus had grown up rise up to throw him out of town.

Certainly at least one of them must have thought, “What have I gotten myself into here?”

Then, before they knew it, Jesus was sending them out in teams of two to do the very same things they had been watching Jesus do.

It is classic mentoring in action – tell them how to do it, show them how to do it, watch them do it, send them out to do it on their own. But they weren’t being sent to sell vacuum cleaners or newspaper subscriptions door to door. They were being sent to convict and console, to challenge and correct, to help and to heal. And they were being sent with the very likely possibility that, just as they were going to do what they had witnessed Jesus doing, they were also opening themselves to the very same treatment that he had received.

Thus they must have appreciated the company of their co-disciple.

To go in teams of two met the requirement of truth telling, that whatever one bore witness to must be substantiated by one or more witnesses. And it also provided for a measure of security, both emotional and physical. So off they went. Under the direction, and with the authority, of Jesus who sent them.

Just like us.

Where did we get the idea that the Christian faith is about OUR comfort? Who suggested that we would live the faith without opposition or bear witness without having to overcome our own fears? The truth is, we might live a comfortable faith if we remain cloistered within the mighty fortress walls of our church buildings, but it we take the faith to the streets (which is where Jesus has sent us), it won’t always be pretty.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, you entrusted your work to those who weren’t fully prepared or equipped, but here we are today. Your plan works when we work it. Fill us with good courage, and connect us with others, that we might be bold witnesses for you outside of the safe walls of our buildings. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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