Tuesday, February 21st. Mark 6:6-13

Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7 He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. Mark 6:6-13

 

I preached the first sermon of my new life as an ordained pastor in July of 1988 and this was the lectionary text assigned for that day.  I’ll never forget it.  I remember reading these verses, especially the instructions to travel light, knowing that, although my wife and I were dirt poor, it had still taken the largest truck that U-Haul rented to haul our junk from Minnesota to Texas.

 

Jesus sends the disciples out in pairs.  It made sense.  Working in teams gives people the opportunity to encourage one another and to hold one another accountable.  It was safer in dangerous places.  It met the requirement that it takes at least two to bear witness.

 

He tells them to travel light, to take nothing for their journey except “a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.”  This is ironic – we just had a group of visitors in worship this Sunday who were in town to receive training as mission developers for new congregations.  They attended our first worship service and then we had an hour to “talk shop” as they ate a nice breakfast in our “Common Grounds Coffee Shop.” Their first questions were “Who chooses the songs for your band?” and “Who puts together the PowerPoint show?”

 

It seems we have come a long way from no bread, no bag, no money.  That old U-Haul truck still sneers at me.

 

Jesus is under no illusion that what he is proclaiming as “good news” will sound good in everyone’s ears.  An invitation to “repent” will be welcome to anyone who is up to their ears in trouble and looking for a fresh start – but it will always be an affront to those who seem to be doing life quite well on their own.  Thus Jesus prepares his disciples with an escape plan from those who reject the message: If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.

 

At the end of the day, at least in this part of the story, the disciples do exactly as they are told.  They cast out demons and heal the sick – they do, on Jesus’ behalf, just what they had seen Jesus doing.  This is amazing stuff.

 

So…in the back of my mind…I’m wondering….

 

I know how this story ends.  There will be a trip to Jerusalem.  An arrest.  A mock trial.  There will be cruel taunts, vicious blows, the snap of a flesh-eating whip.  The first Mardi Gras parade will be feature a bloodied man carrying the crossbar to the final destination of a Roman execution site.  Those demon casting, sick healing, no bag, no money disciples will be nowhere to be found.

 

We’re still sent on God’s mission into the world.  And though we might have a lot more baggage, it isn’t about the baggage.  It never has been.  It has always been about the authority and power of Jesus and our willingness to go. 

 

To go and tell the story of execution swallowed up by resurrection.  The invitation to repent and to believe.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, on this Fat Tuesday, we pray for the willingness to go where you send us, to do what you call us to do, to be the people and the presence that you have called us to be.  Walk with us as we travel into this season of Lent.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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3 Responses to “Tuesday, February 21st. Mark 6:6-13”

  1. Terry Beloncik Says:

    Hi Pastor Kerry,
    Half of me wishes you were right: that it really is March 21 and not February 21. Because warm weather would be great about now. Maybe you’re just testing us to see if we are really reading your message….Yup. Another good one. It’s not about the luggage….BUT. And it’s a big But. The more stuff we have, the harder it becomes. To do anything. To have time for anything. Our “things” pull us down and ultimately control us. Unless. And that’s where our prayers are very, very important. Blessings to you on this Shrove Tuesday. Looking forward to tomorrow, as we begin Lent.

  2. Randy Nelson Says:

    “And though we might have a lot more baggage, it isn’t about the baggage.” These words ring true to me. Apostle Paul knew what it was to have a lot & also little. Mortals are always ready for excuses for not following Jesus. Thanks.

  3. chase finance Says:

    chase finance…

    […]Tuesday, February 21st. Mark 6:6-13 « Daily Devotions[…]…

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