Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
They’ve walked with Jesus for around three years. They’ve seen what he did. And now comes the first practical part of their discipleship. He sends them out in pairs to do what he’s been doing: teaching and healing, setting people free from evil and into the Kingdom of God. They receive simple, clear instructions: travel light, don’t fight about the best accommodation, accept what you find – unless you meet with a lack of welcome. Then don’t waste your time or energy: simply leave and shake the dust of that place off your feet. Leave it behind and move on.
I wonder when was the last time your minister did that? Packed the congregation off with instructions like that and shut the church doors behind them?
In truth I think ministers do that every Sunday at the end of the service. ‘Off you go!’ the benediction really says. ‘Go and share the love and blessing you’ve received here. Then come back and tell us what happened so we can all be encouraged – for next week when we’ll do it all over again!’
What stories we have to tell of our encounters with the bruised and bereaved, the lost and the lonely, the sin-sick and the covid-sick. The countless people we encounter even in this covid-limited world. Travelling light we tread lightly on the earth, bearing the light and love that the Lord Jesus Christ has given us to share – and His authority and healing as we pray for those we meet.
And yes, sometimes we will not be welcome. Our message will not be welcome. Ours not to fight or argue, but to leave quietly and move on to where we can share our message.
For we are a people meant to be on the move with our message, not hoarding it for ourselves but sharing it generously and freely – just as we have received it.
Rekindle our desire to share Your love and light and healing in our broken world, Lord Jesus! Give us courage to venture out of our cosy church fellowships into the big wide world and risk really following you and obeying your commands. Amen