Two by two

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Mark 6:6–13        

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.

Their message had one main thrust. Repent. Turn back to the Lord. Simple yet profound.

These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 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.

Being a follower or disciple of Jesus is not a passive activity. Discipleship is not just follow the leader or believing in His cause. It is actively partaking in, emulating and learning His methods and His ministry. Jesus models this by sending His disciples out, two by two. They are taking part of the beautiful message of the gospel that Jesus brought, a call for repentance and healing the sick. This is the whole body healing that Jesus offers, echoing God’s salvific plan of restoration—Love God, reconciling to Him through repentance, and love others, physically caring for their needs—Love in a practical, personal, sacrificial sense, rather than the saccharine emotion of Valentine’s day cards.

So are you ready to take that gospel to the world? How?

Firstly, the disciples are sent out in pairs. They go with support, brotherhood and a common purpose. They have a mission and understanding of what they are doing. There is less chance of becoming isolated, discouraged or off track. If you have a passion for ministry, you need backup.

Be committed to the message. Focus on the message, not on the props or trappings or people that can discourage. These guys didn’t stick around. They emphasised their message and if it wasn’t accepted they moved on. Sometimes, I get discouraged because I am inviting and praying for a particular person who I have great plans for. God’s ways are higher than ours, and sometimes we just need to move on. (Continue praying but you may not be the harvester).

Keep it simple. There were no PowerPoints, concordances or historical dissertations of the works/faith debate. Their message had one main thrust. Repent. Turn back to the Lord. Simple yet profound. Coupled with their obvious care for people and the healing they were able to perform through God’s power, their message certainly turned heads.

Jesus has given us the authority. He told us to go and sent the Helper. We must go in unity, commitment and simplicity.