Sunday, August 3, 2008

Go & Tell pt. 1

In the face of near wholesale rejection from His hometown people the Lord Jesus Christ did not fold up the Gospel ministry and quit. He was despised and rejected by those who had the most intimate knowledge of Him and experience with him, but this did not cause Him to despair. Marveling at the unbelief of Nazareth, Jesus went about among the villages and continued to teach. The resentment and unbelief of some would not prevent our Lord from taking the life giving gospel message to others. Other villages would receive the awesome benefit which the Nazarenes despised.

Not only did Christ continue to proclaim the Good News, but he dispatched His followers to do likewise. In Mark 3:13-19 Christ chose twelve men out of His many followers, and He ordained the twelve to be with Him so that He might send them out to preach. Before He sent them out, however, He trained and prepared them for the task. Every day, every encounter, every conversation, every situation was a learning opportunity. The twelve ministered to and learned from Christ as they followed Him around Galilee. Christ determined to send forth the disciples to preach the gospel immediately following His Nazareth rejection. That may seem like odd timing to us. Why not wait until a more positive “launch date”? It would seem that the right time to send out the disciples would have been following the glorious victories recorded in chapter 5. That way the disciples would have had some momentum to ride.

Christ thought differently. By His own example in Nazareth the twelve were taught, as are we, that opposition, rejection, and resentment must be faced by those who will faithfully, clearly, and charitably proclaim the Gospel. They learned, as should we, that opposition, rejection, and resentment are no cause for despair. In the face of all the above (and more) the servant of Jesus Christ is called to continually follow his Lord; called to continue to do what he has been called and separated to do. What is that? It is to proclaim the Gospel!

Mark 6:7-13 says:
And he called [unto him] the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for [their] journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in [their] purse: But [be] shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed [them].
Batman and Robin are known as the “Dynamic Duo”, but they were not the first. Mark records that there originally existed 6 dynamic duos, and they had a much bigger, much more significant task than the caped crusaders. Instead of combating the Joker, Penguin, and the Riddler, these pairs squared off against the forces of Satan. Instead of being powered by the bat-mobile and a utility belt, these men were empowered by the Spirit of God to “preach that men should repent…cast out many devils” and heal the sick.

While Nazareth nursed its nastiness, Jesus deployed the apostles to blanket the land with the Gospel. This was an advanced training cycle for the men. Already they had been learning from Christ as they followed and attended Him, but now Jesus sent them away from His side. This was to prepare them for that time in that not-to-distant future when they would be physically separated from the Lord following His crucifixion. Christ would not have His church led by untried, unproved, and inexperienced men.

These men were not just set loose and told to “Go make it happen.” There was order and direction to their sending, just as there is order and direction to all that Christ does (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40). Therefore, the next two or three posts will describe the apostles' commission, commands, and campaign..

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