Last Sunday I shared the gospel lesson from Mark, chapter 6, verses 1-13 from the translation, The Message. It reads like this:
He left there and returned to his hometown. His disciples came along. On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He stole the show, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?”""
But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he think he is?” They tripped over what little they knew about him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further.
Jesus told them, “A prophet has little honor in his hometown, among his relatives, on the streets he played in as a child.” Jesus wasn’t able to do much of anything there—he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them, that’s all. He couldn’t get over their stubbornness. He left and made a circuit of the other villages, teaching.
Jesus called the Twelve to him, and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority and power to deal with the evil opposition. He sent them off with these instructions:
“Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple.
“And no luxury inns. Get a modest place and be content there until you leave.
“If you’re not welcomed, not listened to, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.”
Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.
I was struck by this translation of the last verse of this section that "they preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different."
I wonder sometimes if we really believe that Jesus came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Do we ever ask the question, as Jesus did, "Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (Matthew 6: 25b) I wonder.
Trusting God to take care of us in the midst of our struggles is hard. I think it can be even harder to trust when things are easy. When things are hard, we may be pushed to the point where we have no option but to trust God. When thing are easy, I wonder if it's easier to just say, "Thank you God for all the ways that my life is easy. If we could keep that up, I'd appreciate it."
But the good news of the gospel is that life can be radically different. For everyone. If Christians got serious about making sure that every one has the necessities of life, I imagine that all of our lives would be different. Perhaps we would be more reliant on God's grace to see us through.
Yours on the journey,