In any reflection upon the call Jesus makes on the lives of his followers, there’s a little phrase in Marks’ Gospel that must not be missed, and it’s in chapter 3, verse 14.
It is clear that when Jesus called the 12, he was preparing them for a task – indeed, a mission for life!
To the fishermen, Simon and Andrew, he said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. (Mark 1:17)
But as he appointed the 12, Mark records that Jesus called them (firstly) “that they might be with him”. (3:14)
As then, so now, Jesus only calls people to go, in his Name, from the place of ‘presence’: from that place of being with him.
In the busyness (sometimes, driven-ness) of life, I know I need to return to this first vital element in Jesus’ call – the call to intentionally take time in his presence.
Remember, Jesus only did what he saw his Father doing (John 5:19&20), - and he ‘saw’, because he spent time being with his Father – often in ‘solitary places’.
Luke 9 begins with an account of the sending out of the 12 (vv.1-3):
He called them
He gave them power and authority over demons and diseases
He sent them to preach the Kingdom and to heal
He told them, ‘take nothing’.
All that they were to ‘carry’ was his power and his authority. He sent them, and so sends us today, with the message and the methodology of the Kingdom. We’re to proclaim the good news that God’s rule and reign has come in Jesus, and people need to give their lives to him.
We’re to minister with words and actions that convey God’s goodness and grace, and is evident in people coming into the Kingdom, and people being healed, and delivered, etc.
This instruction to ‘take nothing’ (v.3) is repeated with the sending of the 72 in Luke 10:4. The call to go ‘empty-handed’, with ‘no visible means of support’ (only the clothes they were standing in) caused those first disciples to be absolutely dependent upon the Lord and what he had given them – power and authority to preach, to deliver, to heal etc.
Q. Might it be that we often fail to exercise the power and authority Jesus entrusts to us because our ‘hands’ are full, and we’ve perhaps become dependent upon the ‘purses’, the ‘bags’, and the extra ‘sandals’ we carry?